Two Men Defending Their Honor and Courage: What Happened to Boxing?

“Boxing is drama on its grandest scale.” ~ Howard Cosell

Half asleep on the couch last night, a random pay-per-view promotional caught my attention.

And it got me thinking. What ever happened to the great sport of boxing?

The sweet science. Where has it gone?

This milestone sports moment actually happened a year before I was born, but the poster hangs on a prominent place in my home office. The intensity of the moment is an inspiration to me.

“When you saw me in the ring, it wasn’t just so I could beat my opponent. My fighting had a purpose. I had to be successful to get people to listen to things I had to say.” Muhammad Ali

The promotional was for an upcoming fight between two men whose names were completely and totally unfamiliar. It was a melancholy moment.

Maybe the greatest duo in sports history…

“Boxing is a sport at its most beautiful, most primitive, most natural. Two men defending their honor and courage in a ring surrounded by observers, whose love for the sport is essentially spiritual. Boxing is the last refuge of the modern-day warrior.” ~ Thomas Donelson

When I was a kid, boxing was a big deal.  A couple of times a year you could count on a big-name fight usually broadcast for public consumption on ABC. The personalities and legends who would enter the ring were huge. It was a larger-than-life event when a big fight was broadcast from some exotic location at any given place on the globe.

Promoter Donn King was a ringside fixture at the championship bouts. He wasn’t hard to see.

My dad and I weren’t particularly huge fans or followers of boxing, but a match when a heavyweight championship of the world was up for grabs was a major event. For 90 minutes or so, the world stopped. It was the perfect setting for father-son bonding.

“Unlike any other sport, the objective in boxing is chillingly simple. One man purposefully endeavors to inflict bodily harm on another man.” ~ Howard Cosell

Watching the promotional, a shocking reality came to mind. I don’t even know who the heavyweight champion of the world is today. How can that be?

What happened to the great sport of boxing? I miss those days.

A quick Google search this morning showed that a Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko is the reigning WBA heavyweight champion. Then there are the other heavyweight belts, WBC, IBF and WBO, and I didn’t recognize a single name there either.

The names I recall were truly great. They gave us thrills that will last a lifetime – Liston, Clay-Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton, Holmes, Tyson and Holyfield.

Not one of boxing’s greater moments as Tyson bites off a hunk of Holyfield’s ear. It was a defining moment for Iron Mike.

Who can ever forget the moments of the great bouts with Howard Cosell at ringside. No one ever called a fight like Cosell. People loved to hate him, but he was a brilliant man who, perhaps, made boxing even more than it really was.

“When George (Foreman) came back to win the title it got me all excited. Made me want to come back. But then the next morning came and it was time to start running. I just laid back in bed and said, ‘That’s okay, I’m still The Greatest.'” ~ Muhammad Ali

How did the sweet science practically fall off the map?

I miss those days.

And speaking of fighting men, check out yesterday’s post at http://wp.me/p2bjEC-cY

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