If Boxing Is Dead, Then MMA Is Surely Decomposing AlreadyNow, to be clear off the bat, I do not feel either sport is dead or decomposing in the ground, but as far as comparisons go, this one seemed to be the most relatable to the entire dead or dying context. Boxing has survived these issues for well over one hundred years; MMA has barely been where it is for ten. If these issues kill boxing, where is MMA then?
Since the beginning of any sport, there have been questionable moments, horrible controversies and outright "are you serious" times that people can't get their heads around. The NBA recently dealt with the refereeing scandal, with Tim Donaghy front and centre. MLB dealt with the blowback of the "steroid" years, and as far back as the early 1900's, with the "Black Sox" scandal during the 1919 World Series. The NFL currently has the New Orleans Saints and the "bounty program". The NHL, soccer, cycling, tennis, any sport you can name, they have had public relation issues due to in house problems.
But in the end, all of these sports have kept moving forward, even if they have suffered some minor setbacks with their fan bases. But somehow, in the combat sports world, when boxing suffers a "oh my god" moment, the masses are front and centre, declaring the sport dead and gone, yet don't seem to share the same view with MMA.
Obviously this piece is here due to this past weekend's WBO welterweight title fight in Las Vegas between Manny Pacquaio and Tim Bradley. If you have not seen or heard of this match yet, I will give you a fast second to crawl out from under whatever rock you have been under. Ok, now that you are out, here is what happened to most people: Pacquaio got robbed.
I won't get into the reasons I have as to how I can see what led the two judges who scored the fight for Bradley, but overall, most people feel it was wrong, and this has led to the latest "boxing is dead" outcry. All I can say to that is "huh?"
Boxing doesn't score or referee boxing matches. The same people that UFC president Dana White is constantly bashing for having piss poor judges and referees do, namely the events host State Athletic Committee. This past weekend, it was everyone's favorite SAC, Nevada, but it goes without saying that most SAC's have some "questionable" people being assigned tasks during boxing or MMA event.
Over boxing's one hundred plus years of existence as the sport we see today, there have been countless questionable, or horrible, judging decisions. The best "worst" example of all may be from 1988, when Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker was robbed in a match against Jose Luis Ramirez for Whitaker's WBC lightweight crown. Whitaker was also involved in another match high on this list, this time drawing with Julio Caser Chavez in 1993. Others on this list include Roy Jones Jr. losing maybe the most talked about Olympic boxing match ever to Park Si Hun in 1998, Lennox Lewis drawing with Evander Holyfield during their first match in 1999, and recently, Amir Kahn's stunning loss to Lamont Peterson. This list can go on forever, but in the end, the point is going to be the same: boxing has suffered bad decisions and calls, yet has moved on.
No doubt it has taken some hits over the decisions, but how can you blame an entire sport for the actions of three people with pens and a scorecard?
The MMA situation is no different. Since its boom in the mid 2000's, MMA's popularity has grown rapidly, but all that happened with the same questionable decisions from referees and judges. Shogun/Machida 1, Couture/Vera, Phan /Garcia 1, Bisping/Hamill, this list can also continue for some time. But despite all the similarities with the issues and controversies, people want to blame boxing for what happens, yet point the finger at SAC's when it happens in the MMA world. And the biggest question here is: why?
Are people that eager to see MMA overtake boxing as the premier combat sport now, or ever, that they are trying to kill a sport with conspiracy theories? Are MMA fans that naïve and arrogant that they can point the finger at the same thing that plagues their sport as well? There has to be some reason, and for the life of me, I cannot figure it out.
Since boxing has "died" for the first time several years ago, only UFC WWE-transplant Brock Lesnar has been able to outsell boxing in a pay per view format. Fighters such as Floyd Mayweather and Pacquaio have shown that boxing is far from dead. Sure it is not bringing in the PPV money it once was, but that can be credited to a lack of competition in the heavyweight division and also the lack of a true American star outside of Mayweather. During boxing's hay day, fighters such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Oscar De le Hoya were a North American boxing promoters dream. You can't measure success or "life" by what happened then as compared to now though.
Take out Lesnar and Georges St. Pierre now, MMA doesn't exactly have an abundance of true mega-stars people can't wait to see, which is the same as in boxing. Two names rule the PPV business, but that means in no way that stars aren't everywhere that fans recognize and follow. Yet some people want to act like everyone cares and can't wait for a UFC or Strikeforce card , but a Saul Alvarez or Sergio Martinez fight is nothing but "not the Manny/Mayweather match." Just because people don't know certain fighters as well as mega stars doesn't mean they aren't stars in their own right.
So to sum this all up, was this past weekend's title fight in Las Vegas a horrible call to many? No doubt. Are many boxing fans up in arms over the decision? Again, no doubt. But how that translates into a sport being dead is beyond me. During the telecast, the Andre Ward/Chad Dawson fight was hyped, and many boxing fans are salivating at the matchup between two of boxing's best young fighters. For a sport that apparently died Saturday night, seems to be a lot of people willing to resuscitate it when something intrigues them. The same situation applies to MMA. When someone's favorite fighter loses a bad decision or is at the mercy of a bad refereeing call, emotions run high and things are said. And when the next big fight is announced, fans will flock to it like they did before.
So if you want to blame someone for bad decisions or in ring/cage calls during fight calls, don't blame the sport itself, blame the people making the bad decisions. Focus your anger on the SAC's, the referees, and the judges.
Published by Jasyn Zangari - Tue, 12 Jun 2012 02:47