Friday, January 30, 2015

(Sports) Boxing: 2015 Going To Be A Great Year In Boxing

I’ve always thought 2015 was going to be a great year for boxing mostly for what happened outside the ring than in it as Golden Boy owner and boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya made all the right moves in his quest to get the best fights made inluding thawing the cold war between Golden Boy and Bob Arum’s Top Rank which opens up the possibility of a number of great fights.

2014 on the whole was a dismal year for the sweet science as the Al Haymon effect was felt full force as top talent in the sport under his advisement shamelessly ducked viable opponents, fought overmatched opponents (Danny Garcia’s shameful non-title bout with thethen unranked Rod Salka the most flagrant example), or dropped belts altogether for reasons still unclear to many boxing fans across the board.

But probably his most blatant transgression in 2014 was that he made the sport more predictable with his low risk approach to matchmaking, a worrying mindset that slowly kills a niche sport like boxing that thrives on fighters taking risky or difficult fights. Even worse than that, fighters, most notably those under his advisement, seemed to have internalized this mindset to the point that they were openly bragging about avoiding stiff competition to the chagrin of boxing fans everywhere.

However in 2015, even Al Haymon , probably the most risk averse adviser in the history of the sport, seems to have made a commitment to put his already large and growing stable of fighters in more competitive fights (though largely with each other) and despite the largely negative assessments of his influence on boxing offered by members of fourth estate, he managed to put boxing back on television after a long hiatus which easily the most encouraging news so far in the world of boxing.

Add to that the impressive PPV numbers generated by the Wilder v Stiverne and Alvarado v Rios III bouts and the heavyweight division becoming more competitive with  a growing list of contenders and prospects looking to make 2015 their year’ 2015 is looking like the year boxing comes back swinging for the fences.

With these developments, 2015 looks to be one of the best years in boxing in ages but what would put 2015 over as one of the best years in the history of sport would be to see the fight just about everybody wants, the yet to be made super fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. It stands as a testament to the star power of both men that sports blogs have donated thousands of articles wildly speculating about Pacquiao’s and Mayweather’s next fight.

With nothing set in stone and Showtime and HBO yet to come to an agreement, boxing fans are forced to hold their breath and hope a deal is struck. However, with both fighters at least on speaking terms and there being way too much on the table for the networks prevent the fight from happening, there is  grounds to be optimistic that a deal will be done sooner rather than later.

In sum, 2015 is to be a great year in boxing and boxing fans after the nightmare of 2014 and maybe the year that boxing reestablishes itself as the world number one combat sport.

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