The Death of Boxing Could Be Near but Maybe There Is a Way To Save It

Bryan FlynnAnalyst IMarch 6, 2010

Could it be that before we are even halfway through 2010 that the sport of boxing could be in its death throes? There are a few reasons why I bring up this point about the sport.

The first reason happens to be the Mar. 13 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey for the WBO Welterweight title. While it might be a stretch to think that Clottey will beat Pacquiao, stranger things have happened.

Clottey will be a huge underdog in this fight even though he has a 35-3 record with one no contest against Steve Martinez. The main reason Clottey will be a major underdog is because he has not beaten top fighters when he has faced them.

Of the top fighters Clottey has faced, he has lost to Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margartio, and Carlos Manuel Baldomir. A few good fighters Clottey has beaten are Zab Judah, Richard Gutierrez, Jose Luis Cruz, and Shamone Alvarez.

But none of the fighters Clottey has fought are in the league of a Pacquiao. While anything could happen it looks likely that Pacquiao will win this fight.

If he, being Pacquiao, does win his fight against Clottey, he might be ready to retire and start a life in politics in his native Philippines. Pacquiao has stated he would like to run for a congressional seat in the May 2010 general elections.

Staying with the concept that Pacquiao does retire to become a politician, it would leave only one big drawing fighter. The only big purse fighter would be Floyd Mayweather Jr. and no one else.

That brings us to our next point and the death of boxing. Floyd Mayweather is set to fight “Sugar” Shane Mosley on May 1 about a month and a half after Pacquiao could be retired.

Two things about this fight could help bury the sport of boxing. The first is if Mosley does happen to beat Mayweather.

There is a slim chance that Mosley could beat Mayweather. He has faced tough fights against Vernon Forest, Winky Wright, and others.  It will take the fight of Mosley’s career if he is to beat the much more talented Mayweather.

If Mosley does happen to beat Mayweather and end his undefeated streak at 40, boxing’s biggest cash cow would lose a lot of drawing power unless it was a rematch with Mosley. That is not to say fans would not pay to see Mayweather fight but the amount of money he brings in for a fight would drop.

The second would be even if Mayweather wins, in a way he still loses if Pacquiao retires. There would be no more big names left for him to fight.

Mayweather could fight Miguel Cotto or David Diaz, but both fighters have already lost to Pacquiao. There would be few if any fights that could draw fans and a large pay per view audience.

With the rise of MMA, taking younger fans from boxing it looks like only a matter of time until the sport of boxing enters the realm of also ran sport. Much like baseball is slowing delving into.

Although a win by Mosley against Mayweather might not be a bad thing for boxing at first. If Mosley could beat Mayweather it would set up a very profitable rematch.

Then boxing is in the same place it would be if Mayweather beats Mosley. Only a rubber match if Mayweather and Mosley split their first two fights (that is if there was a Mayweather/Mosley II).

So let’s look at this way, in a way it would be best for boxing if Mosley could beat Mayweather in May and set up a rematch late in 2010. The third fight or rubber match could be fought in early 2011.

That would keep boxing in the forefront for at least one more year. Then if either Mosley or Mayweather could find away to draw Pacquiao out of retirement for a fight or two boxing might be able to hold on through 2011.

If Pacquiao could be persuaded to fight again against the winner of Mosley and Mayweather in late 2011 and a rematch set for 2012, boxing will have hope. That hope would be the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the chance for a new star to come out of the games.

But if Mayweather beats Mosley, boxing would need both Pacquiao and Mayweather to come to an agreement and fight before the end of 2010. The Pacquiao/Mayweather fights would have to be drawn out until the 2012 Olympics and the sport has to hope a George Foreman, Oscar Del Hoya or “Sugar” Ray Lenard emerges.

With the heavyweight division is in shambles and the only good fighters being Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko. The only problem is that no one wants to watch either of the Klitschko brothers fight in America or in Western Europe.

Boxing is at its best when there is one dominating fighter and several other good fighters that can challenge him for his title. Think about what Muhammad Ali would have been like without Foreman, Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, and more.

Boxing needs to find young and talented super stars and fast. The way MMA is growing in popularity does not give the sport much time wait.

While Mayweather is a great talent his act can grow thin at times and he does come off very abrasive. Still for in the ring excitement there is not another fighter like him besides Pacquiao.

No matter happens in the Pacquiao and Clottey or the Mayweather and Mosley fight the next three months could define which course boxing will take for its future.  These two fights could be the biggest in the history of the sport if it is survive.

If Pacquiao retires and Mayweather has no one to fight by the end of 2010 there might not be much hope for the sport to be save in the 2010 Olympic Game. There is an ever shrinking chance to save the sport and it might come down to three men: Mayweather, Pacquiao, and Mosley.