There was a time, not long ago, that THE title in sports was…HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!
The title was held by the world’s best known men – men like Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. Today it’s over. Boxing is nearly dead.
Sure, there’s still Floyd Mayweather and Manny Paciauo, but that’s nearly all there is. Not to forget the not very popular Klitschko Brothers who have held the heavyweight belts for more than a decade and are even older than Floyd or Pacuiauo.
Clearly Floyd and Manny are now far past their prime – both in their mid 30’s. Neither have had much competition so they have slowed down, gotten a bit fat, sloppy and happy. Floyd is headed to jail for three months for beating up a girl…again. And Manny is too busy being a political leader. The two household name fighters have made well over $200 million each as champs…of what we don’t really much know.
Mixed Martial Arts is the rage today, but there are no real superstars, and nobody lasts very long. The money is much smaller than boxing. However today if you are not Floyd, Manny or even Klitschko, there is almost no money in boxing. In fact guys like Evander Holyfield, who was in his prime in the late 80’s, still fights for more dough than young, up-and-coming fighters. Why? Because someone’s heard of the former champ evern though he’s 50 an still fighting. Evander gets show up money to fight for ESPN 2 at about $50,000 a fight today. Hell, George Foreman went until he was nearly 50 as well.
Boxing was brutal, but it was replaced really by the NFL and NBA.
Big men, like Lebron James, who could have been a heavyweight champ in boxing today, pass it by for the bigger bucks in the far less dangerous NBA. As the money has died in boxing so has the attendance and TV revenue. Only Manny and Floyd mean anything and both are at or near the end of their careers. If they fight each other, and that may not happen, each could get 100 plus million bucks.
Then it’s over. Nobody else really matters.
When the Wladimer Klitschko fights, nobody much cares. The money is way down, maybe under $1 million dollars for his Championship fights on live HBO at best. There’s not enough interest for Pay Per View anymore.
This is all very painful to me, since I made much of my Hollywood living doing Sports Films, like Champions Forever with Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Larry Holmes – the greatest set of champs ever. I did two focused on the world’s most famous man, Ali. This is the job I got right out of prison, so it was quite an honor for me. Ali was my hero.
I went on to do four more on boxing and racing, but none were as exciting as the first.
Last night Floyd Mayweather just got by Miguel Cotto for a super welterweight title, almost nobody even asked me about it or cared.
Remember this one?
"Hey, where you gonna watch the Tyson fight?"
Those days are gone. Soon boxing will be gone. Some are happy, "it was too brutal!"
Now we hear that about the NFL. There will always be a brutal sport for Americans…we love it. That’s why NASCAR stories focus on the CRASHES…those are the photos on TV, right?
Remember when Michael Buffer would say loudly into the mic, "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LETS GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEEEE…."
Well, now he says it at Arrowhead Stadium before a football game.
Those were the days – where have you gone, Joe Lewis?