The World Is Boxing's Oyster
With the litany of hype surrounding the two fighters who shall remain unnamed, I thought it might be nice to do an article about all the positive things happening in boxing.
The sport, contrary to popular opinion, is actually very healthy and is surrounded by a lot of excitement.
Yes, MMA has definitely received a tremendous amount of attention over the past 10 years in the United States. However, that popularity isn't necessarily translating into global popularity.
People that take on the opinion that boxing is a "dying sport" probably think soccer is a dead sport, as well. They just can't look past their own borders.
Boxing is, by far, the more popular sport on a world scale.
And, it only looks like it's going to get more and more popular.
In fact, if you look at the lower weight classes (from super middleweight on down), they are, in some cases, completely dominated by boxers outside of the United States.
Below are a few of the reasons to get excited about boxing and why it will continue to gather viewers across the globe.
The Showdown Super Six Tournament
A great idea by the Showtime brain trust, and I wish it were getting more publicity. Every one of these fighters is world-class, and I've seen some outstanding fights.
Nobody, absolutely nobody, can accuse any of these fighters of ever ducking anyone.
They signed up for a brutal schedule.
For those of you who don't know, the Super Six Tournament takes six top supermiddle contenders (Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, Mikel Kessler, and Jermain Taylor) and pits them against one another in a round robin type of tournament.
There are three European fighters and three US fighters in the tournament.
At this point, I'd give the European fighters the slight edge. If it weren't for Andre Ward beating Mikel Kessler, it would be a blood bath.
I like Abraham to win the whole thing, and I think he'll face Andre Ward in the final. That said, Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell (if he can stop holding) are the most entertaining fighters I've witnessed.
I think Showtime is on to something here, and more tournaments like this will happen globally.
The Rise of Europe
I don't know if anyone has noticed, but boxing is becoming increasingly popular in Europe.
It's always been popular in England, Germany, and Ireland. Now, we're seeing outstanding fighters come out of the eastern bloc countries and even countries such as Denmark, Norway, and Spain are getting into the act. Surprisingly, given their history, there aren't any Italian boxers on the radar.
The bevy of solid European fighters is unprecedented. There is Arthur Abraham, Dariusz Balla, Marco Huck, Carl Froch, Mikel Kessler, Vic Darchinyan, Amir Khan, the Klitschko brothers, and even Lucian Bute (who is Romanian but fights out of Canada), to name just a few.
These are all top guys who can compete with any American.
Lucian Bute, Vic Darchinyan, and Carl Froch are my personal favorites. Each is extremely skilled and very active.
The Continued Popularity of Boxing in Latin America
I can't see MMA taking a foothold in Latin America. There's just too much boxing history in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Nicaragua, and just about every other Latin American country.
It's a shame that Americans are so enamored with the biggest weight classes, because I think the best fights over the past 10 years have come from the lower weight classes, and have been dominated by Mexican and Puerto Rican fighters.
Cesar Seda, Jose Lopez, Roman Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, Orlando, Cruz, Victor Fonseca, and Carlos Quintana are world champions out of Puerto Rico that should continue to make for great fights over the next few years.
The Marquez-Varquez battles should continue through 2010 or 2011. Francisco Javier Reza, Ivan Pereyra, Carlos Morales, and Gonzalo Garcia are all great Mexican fighters who should be putting on great fights through the coming years.
Celestino Cabballero out of Panama, Omar Andres Narvaez out of Argentina, Yonnhy Perez out of Columbia, and Roman Gonzalez out of Nicaragua are just some of the other outstanding fighters coming out of Latin America.
Most of these guys fight out of the lower weight classes. So while they won't get publicity, their fights are worth watching.
The Rise of Asia
A certain fighter out of the Philippines has obviously brought a lot of attention to that part of the world. Filipino boxers have always been dominant in the sport of boxing.
Surprisingly, it's the rest of the Asian countries that have been suspiciously quiet over recent years.
That's all about to change.
Take a look at some of the other fighters coming out of Asia.
Chris John, Nonito Donaire, Pongsaklek Wongjonkam out out of Thailand, Hosumi Hasegawa out of Japan, and Jung Bung Kim out of Korea are all coming on strong.
And, all are legitimate world champions or top contenders.
I know all of the recent controversy over a certain blood test has left a sour taste in just about everyone's mouth. Don't let that deter you, because there's a lot to like about the sport and there's a ton of great fights and fighters coming up.
Over the next five to 10 years, it's entirely possible that boxing will be the world's most second popular sport (next to soccer).
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