Whatever happened to boxing, anyway? Up until about 1992 or thereabouts, boxing was just HUGE. When I was in grade school and high school, whenever Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Ray Mancini, Larry Holmes or even Mike Tyson fought, it was an EVENT. Those Leonard-Duran fights – was there better sports theatre than those fights? You just didn’t miss it, no questions asked. Nowadays, there’s no excitement at all about any boxing matches. I can’t even name the heavyweight champion of the world and I think many others would be hard-pressed to do so. Now, you might respond by saying that perhaps my tastes have simply changed and I’m not dialed in like I used to be. I actually don’t think so. I think what boxing lacks these days are the true gatekeepers – the guys who were not just excellent boxers, but personalities with marketing potential. I think Sugar Ray was pitching Sprite for a while! (Quick search proves me wrong: it was 7-Up he did commercials for.)
Anyway, I DO know that I can get into boxing. I came across a match one night while I was flipping channels and I was entranced by two no-names slugging the living hell out of each other. Seriously – I had nothing invested in either of these guys and there I was on the couch, biting my nails and holding my breath. So it’s still in me. I just need someone to latch onto and it’s not Oscar De La Hoya, so don’t tell me that. Is there another young Mike Tyson out there (the BOXER, not the person) that will put boxing back on the map? Or is it really all about Ultimate Fighting or whatever that is?
The great Warren Zevon wrote a song about Boom Boom Mancini back in his glory days. Here he is performing it on Letterman back in 1997. Love the guitar riffs in this and also love the song because I remember each and every one of the fights Zevon is singing about in each verse. Great stuff. What happened to boxing?