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For years, boxing has been losing fans and falling deeper out of popularity. There are numerous reasons to blame for this.
First, there is a disconnect between the casual fan and the fighters. Next is too many belts in each weight class. Followed by an over saturation of Pay Per View. Finally, it’s been some obvious questionable decisions by judges.
Let’s take a look at each.
The casual fan doesn’t know who these fighters are. It was a time where young, up and coming fighters were exposed to fans by fighting on free television. This allowed fans to follow and get to know fighters well before they became contenders or champions.
There is something to be said about watching a fighter develop before your eyes. A love affair and fan base ensues with a fighter’s charisma and skill-set. Having that connection with a fighter is essential to gaining fans back.
At one time, there used to be just three sanctioning bodies in each division. It was the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF). Each recognized and identified with who was the best within each weight class.
Now you add the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and more red tape to sift through. Then you have lesser known organizations like the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) and North American Boxing Association (NABA), creating unnecessary chaos.
Pay Per View in itself is fine and necessary but it seems like every fight is on Pay Per View. It’s not fair to fans to continually ask them to shell out $50 or more for every big fight.
Pay Per View should be reserved for special championship fights. Remember, fighters were introduced to fans on free television, then stepped up into contention on HBO or Showtime networks and finally, after perfecting their craft, they got a title shot or defended their title. Pay Per View should be earned, then fans wouldn’t mind paying.
There is nothing worse than watching a fighter win the fight in the ring, only to lose it on decision to the judges. You immediately think corruption. Which is bad for the sport. It makes you wonder what the judges were watching.
We understand that judging a fight is subjective but when one fighter dominates, its obvious.
The Manny Pacquiao vs.Jeff Horn bout comes to mind. Pacquiao clearly outboxed Horn and the numbers backed that up. Pacquiao landed 182 punches to Horn’s 92, yet Horn won a unanimous decision. Very puzzling.
The good news is that all of this is fixable. The major issue is each state governs itself, bad idea. There needs to be a national organization that had the final say on decisions, one that has boxing’s best interest as its top priority.
If that happens, boxing can be on top again.