Klitschko vs. Chambers: The Heavyweight Title Fight
With the heavyweight belts held by Russian Wladimir Klitschko, the division has fallen under the radar in the United States. American Eddie Chambers is in Germany to fight the champ today and the fight can be seen on the Internet for a scant $14.95.
The Manny Pacquiao fight was over 50 dollars when he fought last Saturday against the over-matched Joshua Clottey. The best part of that fight was the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders singing the national anthem.
The welterweight division has the fight that America wants to see, if Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather can come to terms.
The fight is popular in Germany, where 51,000 are expected to pack the ESPIRIT Arena. Even with a 35-1 record, American "Fast" Eddie Chambers has not raised the interest in the heavyweight division as other American fighters before him.
Wladimir Klitschko is 53-3 and the decided favorite to retain all three of his belts. As a top flight Russian boxer, the lack of an American rival has prevented him from filling an American venue and selling a pay-per-view ticket.
It has been seven years since America was interested in the heavyweight division. Lennox Lewis fought Vitali Klitschko and after Lewis won by TKO, he retired. Lewis is English and Vitali, Wladimir's brother, is Russian, but there was interest in a re-match between the two before Lewis retired.
So, Americans will watch a fight if they don't have one of their own in the ring. We will watch any weight division in droves as well as evidenced by the over 50,000 in attendance at Cowboys Stadium to watch a welterweight battle between a man from the Philippines and a man from Ghana.
So why is this fight not getting any run here in the USA?
Is it simply the tale of the tape? Eddie Chambers comes in at 6'1" and 209 pounds while Wladimir Klitschko is a towering 6'6" and 244 pounds. In his last fight, Chambers beat the 6'7", 250 pound Alexander Dimitrenko in a 12-round decision.
Boxing analysts are quick to point out that Klitschko is a far superior boxer than Dimitrenko.
Still, Chambers has experience at fighting and beating a mountain of a man.
Is Klitschko's nickname better? "Dr. Steelhammer" is way better than "Fast," plus Klitschko is actually a Doctor of Sport Science.
Are we taking a wait and see approach?
If Chambers does beat Klitschko then will Americans be interested in the Heavyweight Division again? He will have to beat Klitschko since most of us will not see the fight so a good showing in a loss will not help Chambers introduce himself to the masses.
The real answer, in my opinion, is the popularity of MMA. MMA is run better than boxing currently is. MMA has the young male demographic that is so important to the success of any business venture in 2010 America. MMA has Americans as their stars right now and that is also very important to gain attention in the overflowing world of sports in this day and age.
The only advantage that boxing has over MMA is its rich history. The fact of the matter is that MMA only needs one of their stars to transcend the sport. The sooner that MMA can cultivate an athlete the caliber of Muhammad Ali, the sooner that boxing's one advantage will be lost in this day of short attention spans.
Seven years ago, two non-Americans fought for the heavyweight crown and the nation watched. Today, an American is fighting for the heavyweight crown, and he has to go to Germany and not even ESPN will carry the fight.
As a boxing fan, I shudder to think where the sport will be seven years from now.
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