“Dear Boxing–Where Have You Been”
It should be as big a night as boxing has seen in a long time, but then again, it has been a long time since boxing meant anything to anyone.
The names in neon lights…Tyson Fury-vs-Deontay Wilder.
The headlines..heavyweight championship of the world.
It’s a rematch many wanted to see, at least those who paid attention before, when Fury got off the canvas twice to earn a split decision draw against Wilder in a title fight in Los Angeles.
That fight was not on anyone’s radar, this one is. Wilder is (40-0) with 39-knockouts. Fury is (27-0) with 19-ko’s. One is (6’9), the other (6’7).
Boxing has been down for so long.
I remember Howard Cosell, Don Dunphy, boxing on radio, and the Gillette Calvacade of Fights was along time ago.
I recall watching the grainy black and white videos of Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Primo Carnera, Max Schmeling.
The superstars, the sluggers, the personalities made the sport special.
Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali.
It was the era of the sluggers and brawlers, Sonny Liston, Earnie Shavers, George Foreman, Joe Fraizer. Ken Norton, Ron Lyles, Larry Holmes, Lenox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.
Oh there were bad heavyweight winners too, Gerry Cooney, Chuck Wepner, Pinklon Thomas, Buster Douglas.
Boxing’s seemingly heavyweight division went the way of your Dad’s Packard, Hudson and DeSoto. It’s as if when Mike Tyson went to prison, that division went away.
Somehow it lost its way and its belts and crowns wound up in Russia with the Klitschko Brothers. They fought no-bodys and no one paid attention any longer.
Maybe it was the demise of the Golden Gloves tourneys in New York. Maybe it was the clubs closing down. Maybe it was the lack of interest in the Olympics.
Yes as the heavyweight division went away, we did have the birth of the great lower weights. Sugar Ray Leonard, Ray Mancini, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Oscar DeLaHoya, Julio Cesar Chavez, Manny Pacquiao and so many more.
But something was missing. The ‘Thriller in Manila’. The fight in Zaire. The ‘Rumble in the Jungle’. The ‘Rope-a-Dope’. A screaming Ali ‘I am the Greatest’. Cosell yelling ‘Down Goes Frazier’.
Saturday night, a re-birth of the heavyweight division possibly. Won’t be on radio, not on your TV, not in a movie theatre, unless you want to pay 79-99 PPV.
But for the first time in what seems like decades, some people are talking about the heavyweight division now. Somebody is going down. Someone will go to sleep. It’s what the Sweet Science should be all about.
Heavyweight Boxing as we once knew it-we welcome you back.