5 Changes That Could Reenergize the Boxing Community
Boxing has had its share of problems that have kept it from being one of the most popular sports in the United States for decades.
Through the first half of the 20th century, boxing, baseball and horse racing were the three most popular sports in the country. While baseball has its share of problems, it still remains a vital sport on the American sporting canvas.
Horse racing is just a shell of what it once was, and while boxing has its share of loyal followers, the sport's popularity has been diminished dramatically.
Competition from mixed martial arts fighting is not the biggest issue. Boxing was in trouble long before Dana White took over the UFC in 2002.
There are several issues that boxing could fix that would re-energize the sport and help it capture sporting glory once again.
Too Many Titles
Boxing does not need to offer so many championship belts to its fighters.
The World Boxing Association, the World Boxing Council and the International Boxing Federation are considered the three highest-rated organizations that offer championship belts. However, there are at least 19 other organizations that offer some kind of recognition to fighters.
Only the most devout fight fans could keep up with all of the titles.
There're far too many. There's no need for more than one world champion per weight class.
National Boxing Authority
There is no single authority figure in boxing.
Unlike a sport like professional football that has a commissioner in Roger Goodell (video above) to oversee it, boxing is run by state organizations.
Boxing has conducted itself in this manner since the early part of the 20th century.
In addition to being disorganized, it opens boxing up to corruption and other problems. Having one central authority figure would streamline the sport and allow the public to have more confidence in the way boxing operates on a day-to-day basis.
Regularly Televised Boxing
Boxing needs to have a regularly scheduled boxing show on over-the-air network television.
Boxing should be easy to find for all fans. It doesn't have to be every week, but a regular boxing show should be available at least twice a month on network television.
If you are not on the air regularly, many casual fans won't know your sport exists. Loyal fans would also like to see more fights on television.
During the heyday of ABC's Wide World of Sports, boxing was a regular part of the series. When fighters like Muhammad Ali appeared on Wide World with Howard Cosell (video above), boxing fans not only got to see their sport, but it became water-cooler banter.
Putting boxing in a regular spot on television would increase the sport's popularity and help it grow.
Pay Per View
Boxing pay-per-view events bring in millions of dollars to the sport and the fighters who risk their lives every time they fight.
However, pay-per-view events price out a large number of boxing fans every time there is a bona fide championship fight.
It's one thing to offer a pa-per-view fight for a top-rated title fight; it's quite another when it's a middle-of-the-road bout. Boxing needs to reconsider its dependence on the pay-per-view tool as its primary way of earning capital.
Whether boxing is in the spotlight or not, the sport has developed many great champions in every generation.
Fans want to see the greatest fighters get in the ring and stand up to the challenge of meeting other top fighters there.
They get bored with the sport when the best fights can't be made for financial or political reasons.
When a champion will only get into the ring once or twice per year, that's not good enough.
A fighter may have two fights scheduled in one year and win them both in knockouts that go five rounds or fewer.
That's not enough action. Fighters need to stay busy to build up the sport.