Growing up in the UK, big boxing matches were a major event - Ali fighting just about anyone was always big news. Then came the Ray Leonard, Herns, Hagler, Duran era and life was good. Finally that man Tyson hit the scene and everyone had the chance to imagine what it would have been like to sit and watch men battle to the death in the Roman circus... and behind so many of these fights - the man with the crazy troll-doll hair, convicted killer and absolute ruler of the square ring - Don King!
IMO King was a man to be despised, he was a crazy self publicist who would do anything to ensure that he, and only he was responsible for promoting the biggest fights – the heavyweights (does that sound at all familiar?). However, with hindsight things in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s weren’t that bad – the great fights always seemed to happen (although maybe I just wasn’t aware that certain great fights weren’t being made?) and although boxers routinely complained about being ripped off by King – the fights that mattered were being made.
As far as I am concerned, boxing hit the slippery slope (and hasn’t stopped sliding) when:
1. It collided with a giant can of alphabet soup and asking who was the current world champion depended on whether it was the WBA, WBO, IBF or WTF etc. and
2. When they decided that more money could be made by doubling/trebling the number of weight classes so instead of the lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight titles we now have a champion every three or four pounds (seriously)
I do find it very strange that for so many years (decades) the US dominated the heavyweight division – but since the Ukrainian brothers came to power the US seems unable to mount a worthwhile challenge…
I can’t believe that I saying this – but where is Don King when you need him most? For all those that dislike Dana White, and want him gone from the UFC – be careful what you wish for.
I must admit to being biased as I haven’t paid to watch boxing since Tyson lost to Lewis – and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Boxing’s has been downhill since Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Herns 1, Ali vs. Forman and Haggler vs. Mugabe. The UFC has a long way to go to match those fights - but they are already way beyond where boxing currently is!
Last edited by Aiken : 06-22-2012 at 03:45 PM.