Boxing Debate: Do Boxers Need to Fight More Often?

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2012

Andre Ward defeated Chad Dawson in his first bout in 10 months.
Andre Ward defeated Chad Dawson in his first bout in 10 months.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It's a popular sports lament that "things were better in the old days."

In baseball, they don't have players like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Bob Gibson.

In football, fans may wish for the old days with Jim Brown, Joe Montana and Lawrence Taylor.

In boxing, there are many complaints. Not only were boxing stars bigger when there were names like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard, it seemed like you didn't have to wait for fighters to get back in the ring after a big fight.

Playing the good old days rarely works in sports. We may long for yesterday's big names, but today's athletes are bigger, stronger, faster and quicker.

This is just as true in boxing as it is in any other sport. So while longing for the good old days is understandable, it has nothing to do with reality.

But boxers are not as active as they once were. Certainly, when fighters are trying to climb the ladder and get recognized, there is a tendency to take more fights and get in the ring with opponents with greater frequency.

But once fighters get established, it's a much different story. Champions and high-level contenders may only take one or two fights per year.

For example, Andre Ward fought "Bad" Chad Dawson in a highly promoted fight last week in Oakland, Calif. Ward is 28 years old and is in the prime of his career. Ward registered a 10th-round TKO of Dawson as he landed his punches with frequency and surgical precision.

Prior to getting in the ring with Dawson, Ward's last fight had been with Carl Froch in December 2011.

Ward is both the WBA and WBC super middleweight champion. He is in peak form, but he needed a break of 10 months between fights.

Ward is more the rule than the exception.

In this week's fight between middleweight contender Sergio Gabriel Martinez and champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Martinez is getting into the ring for the first time since March, when he defeated Matthew Macklin. That's a six-month absence from the ring.

On the other hand, Chavez fought three months ago when he registered a technical knockout over Andy Lee. Chavez had fought in February when he earned a decision over Marco Antonio Rubio and he also defeated Peter Manfredo Jr. in November 2011.

Chavez is the exception. He is a champion who fights frequently. Other high-level and ascending fighters are content to stop after one or two fights per year.

Clearly the sport of boxing, which has so much competition from Mixed Martial Arts, would be better off its star performers fought with greater frequency.