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The Decline Of Boxing In America

3852 words - 15 pages

Boxing in the early and mid-twentieth century had an appeal that captured the eyes and ears of millions of Americans. Championship fights and popular fighters were on national television and in newspaper headlines. At the time, boxing was relevant in the American sports world. However, over the past 30 years, boxing has regressed and lost its popularity. Spectacles like the graceful Muhammad Ali and the hard-hitting Mike Tyson are gone and have been replaced by lackluster fighters and greedy fight promoters who only care about their profit cut. On top of that, an increasing pile of evidence is starting to show more clearly the dangers of repeated head trauma and how corrupt the business of boxing has become. Lastly, boxing is pressured by the rapidly growing sport, mixed martial arts (MMA), because of its safer nature and a strong corporate leader. These causes combined will finally cause boxing to die as a sport in America unless serious steps are taken to reform the sport.
In boxing, there are more than 20 sanctioning bodies (Ringsidebygus). This makes the sport very decentralized and hard to follow, particularly for the average fan at home. On the contrast, during the high point of boxing in the mid-twentieth century, there were only three sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Association, the International Boxing Federation, and the World Boxing Council. The small number of bodies and the undisputed champions were elements that made boxing easier to follow and more fan friendly (Hauser).
Also, since each sanctioning body is independent of the others, there can be multiple champions in the same division at the same time. For example, currently in the light heavyweight division alone, there are five different champions of the world. Once again, this makes it incredibly difficult for boxing fans to recognize the “official” champion of each division owing to the differing sanctioning bodies. To make the problem worse, most boxing associations don’t work to unify their champions. There are so many sanctioning bodies because they don’t want to “share” their champions and profits. It clearly demonstrates the greed of the business and the lack of concern for the overall popularity of the sport and the audience which supports it (Hauser).
Boxing also makes use of promoters who manage the financial requirements of an event, making sure everything follows legal requirements (Hauser). Instead of working for the actual boxing organizations, they work privately and for their own profit. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked the promoter Don King as the 49th most important person in sports saying, “The dominant boxing promoter for the past 20 years ... [who] has fashioned the sport into his own game, using bluster and swagger and an acute business sense to create an empire” (Layton). Using his ridiculously high position in the sport, he has been involved in many schemes that benefit his personal profits, using fighters like John Ruiz to...

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