The sweet science has been going sour for years and there are so many reasons why. Boxing is losing popularity as fast as mixed martial arts is gaining. In the battle of sanctioned combat, there are several reasons for the shift in popularity, most of them should be obvious. A group of guys huddling around a radio in the 1950′s to hear a good boxing match has been replaced by a group of people gathering in someone’s living room to watch a pay-per-view MMA card on a plasma television. Yep, a sport once as popular as The Beatles has indeed faded.
Perhaps the biggest problem with professional boxing right now is that the demographic of the sport is mostly male and over 35 years of age. Boxing loses a fan or two every hour. The big promoters have failed to reach out to the younger market. Maybe they just don’t know how. Bob Arum is a quality promoter, I would say the best in the game. He is also getting older and has not surrounded himself with any gameplan to build a younger fan-base.
Don King is the worst frontman a sport could ask for. Just looking at him over the years, he has done nothing but ruin the sport with his corrupt habits. Mike Tyson would not be as dysfunctional of a human being had he fought for anyone but King. King spoiled Tyson and then left him floating when the noise settled down.
Another name I am starting to hear more and more in boxing circles is that of Lou DiBella. DiBella handles Sergio Martinez and says some pretty wild things. He is just this evil-sounding guy who likes to hear himself talk. A casual boxing fan is turned away by someone like DiBella. He has no character when his fighters lose and won’t shut up when they win. He is not the up-and-coming frontman a sport on life support needs to endorse right now.
Oscar DeLaHoya is a young and charismatic guy who could do more to promote the product. Golden Boy Promotions has grown over the past couple of years. My plan of action would be to hire a spokesperson that people want to believe. One that speaks good English and can articulate a pulse for an upcoming card. Oscar just sits in the back and smiles.
Another big problem with boxing is that it is no longer offered on network television. The sport was supposedly removed because it was too barbaric and a farse of it’s reveled history. Meanwhile, I turn on CBS a few Saturday’s ago and watched some decent MMA action. Discard the “too barbaric for network television” excuse. The lack of mainstream exposure has killed the sport.
Dana White is not my favorite person in the world. I think he is way too cocky for what he actually does. However, Mr. White knows how to promote his sport. The MMA pay-per-views are fun to watch from start to finish, titles can change hands during an undercard fight, and it is usually an entertaining three hours where nobody says, “I will never buy another MMA pay-per-view again”.
The undercard of boxing pay-per-views has been horrid lately. Usually those promoters do well hyping the main event, but nobody knows much about the other four or five fights or even who the fighters are. If the main event happens to stink (ex. Hatton vs Mayweather) people will cry wolf and swear off spending their hard-earned cash on boxing shows that are just inexcusably horrible.
It is too obvious, boxing is losing on every scorecard right now. MMA is getting corporate sponsorships (other than beer distributors), they are putting athletes into other mainstream projects (Dancing With The Stars), and they don’t seem to have any corrupted reputation as far as fight-fixing.