Status: MMA Gatti
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Los Angeles
People have always seemed to use the success and competitiveness of the Heavyweight division as a barometer to measure the well-being of boxing, but they don't always corrolate. The only good heavyweights fighting at an elite level then were Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson (Holyfield only moved up in 88, Lewis was still just a prospect, and Michael Spinks, a great light heavyweight, only had like 4 fights at HW). Meanwhile, the rest of the division sucked. They were competitive with each other, yeah, but otherwise, who cared about former titlists like Trevor Berbick, Tony Tucker, Bonecrusher Smith, Gerrie Coetzee, Pinklon Thomas, Tim Witherspoon, Tony Tubbs, etc. Yet boxing in the 80s was great, when gods like Leonard, Duran, Hearns, and Hagler were around, as well as future HOF-ers like Arguello, Pryor, McCallum, Chavez, Rosario, Camacho, Holyfield the cruiserweight, Qawi, and Saad Muhammad, among others.
The problem with boxing now is that the best don't consistently fight the best anymore, and that is a major problem. Floyd Mayweather is the poster boy for this. After he moved up from lightweight (and at 130 and 135, he fought excellent opposition like Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales, Carlos Hernandez, Jesus Chavez, and Genaro Hernandez. I, a Mayweather-hater, won't deny it), he stopped fighting upper echelon guys, with the exception of a fading Arturo Gatti, and erratic Zab Judah, and a twilight Oscar de la Hoya, but eschewing big fights with the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito, and Shane Mosley for the likes of a badly faded Sharmba Mitchell, DeMarcus Corley, Henry Bruseles, and Carlos Baldomir. What the hell?
Mayweather never would have gotten away with that in the 80s and even the early 90s, when the seeds for that sort of fighting schedule were sown by Roy Jones (although he was cleaning out 175, there was still big fights he could have taken that he never did, like a Hopkins rematch and Dariusz Michaelewski). The fact that promoters feel that they're little feuds with each other are more important than the fights, the fact that HBO allows mismatches to constantly happen and pay huge money for bullshit exclusive contracts, and the fact that the sanctioning bodies have bullshit rankings and force mis-mandatories on their champions is contributing to boxing's low ebb. Still, it's not as bad as it was in the early 60s, when boxing nearly got banned after the Griffith/Paret fight. Then Muhammad Ali came along and changed everything.
Boxing can and will turn around, but it'll take more than a few forward-thinking journalists and frustrated fans to do it. It won't happen by itself.
__________________ Israel Vazquez....Super Bantamweight Champ....Super Heavyweight Heart
This man is my hero.