Boxing's Saving Grace or Last Hurrah?

By Maese, Rick | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), May 2, 2015 | Go to article overview

Boxing's Saving Grace or Last Hurrah?


Maese, Rick, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


LAS VEGAS » Battered, bruised and against the ropes for years, the sport of boxing takes center stage Saturday night. Fans will pay a king's ransom to sit ringside at the MGM Grand. Millions more around the world will plop down $100 to watch on television. Many will be tuning in for their first boxing match in years. Those around the sport are hopeful it won't be the last.

For years, the boxing world has been titillated by the possibility of Manny Pacquiao, the 36-year old Filipino fighter who has won world titles in eight weight classes, finally facing off against Floyd Mayweather, the undefeated and polarizing welterweight from Michigan, considered by most to be the world's best pound-for- pound fighter.

But after the telecast goes off the air, the boxing world faces even bigger questions about its future. For more than decade, the sport's popularity has waned amid fractured governance and an absence of stars. And just as some sports fans have been repulsed by its brutal nature, others have been drawn away by even more violent mixed martial arts. All of which leads to questions about whether Saturday's event will amount to the last great prize fight or something that manages to revive sustained interest in the sport.

"Mayweather-Pacquiao will capture the attention of a lot of people who don't normally watch boxing," said Stephen Espinoza, the top executive for Showtime's sports division. "If their interest is piqued, it's the responsibility of all of us who work in boxing to capitalize on that over the next few months and convert those casual fans into regular fans."

Most boxing insiders say the sport's legendary fights run in cycles, acknowledging that boxing hasn't produced a showdown such as Saturday's since at least Mike Tyson squared off against Lennox Lewis in 2002. Saturday's battle comes at a curious time for boxing, which long ago faded to the far edge of the American sports fan's plate.

"What happens in the next two or three years is, in my view, is going to strongly impact what happens for the next 10 to 20 years," said Jim Lampley, the veteran HBO commentator. "I don't see another transformation of this size and this depth coming in the near future."

Veteran boxing broadcaster Al Bernstein said it's "absurdly simplistic" to view Saturday's bout as the sport's last big hurrah. The mere fact that people are willing to shell out so much money this weekend -- tickets are selling on the secondary market for six figures -- is indication that there's an audience hungry for competitive fights.

"Go back to the '50s: They've been saying 'last big fight for boxing' for a half century," said Bernstein. "I'm not a cheerleader for boxing -- I cover it -- but it's especially wrong to say it now. I don't see this as a final thing. I see this as a beginning."

- - -

While Pacquiao carries the hopes of a nation into the ring and Mayweather's brash personality has made him a TMZ regular -- his domestic violence charges and his outlandish spending habits are popular topics -- each fighter's most interesting characteristic is his exceptional boxing abilities. Thomas Hauser, boxing historian and author, says the bout lacks the social significance to draw comparisons to the sport's most legendary battles.

"In terms of the historical importance of the fight, it pales by comparison with some of the more important fights in history," he said. "This is nothing like Jack Johnson against James Jeffries, the Joe Louis-Max Schmeling rematch, the first Ali-Frazier fight. In fights like that, you had two diametrically opposed constituencies. When the fight was over, people cared about the results, they carried the results with them for months. . . . This fight is nothing like that."

That means the only thing that's really under the microscope Saturday is the sport itself. Boxing observers note that Saturday's bout can't be viewed in a vacuum. The fact that the fight is finally taking place after more than five years of public bickering between the two boxers' camps has made boxing a water-cooler topic for at least one week. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Boxing's Saving Grace or Last Hurrah?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.