Sports in America: Match-Up #5

John Buco@john.bucoCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2008

In the most recent face-off, the NHL convincingly blew by leisure sports to advance into the next round.  They will meet the winner of today’s match-up in the next round.  Pro boxing, with one of the oldest and richest histories in the world, will take on the most up-and-coming sport in America, NASCAR/IRL.


Pro boxing, formerly known as prize fighting, remains popular in many sects of the United States.  Particularly in larger cities such as New York, Chicago, and Boston, boxing is still incredibly popular.  Popularity soared and then took at hit when MMA was introduced.  Going all the way back to John O’Sullivan up through Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and Oscar de la Hoya, boxing remains a staple in the American market.


However, like football and baseball beside it, boxing has had it’s problem with several of its big name athletes, most notably, Mike Tyson.  Tyson drove his career, along with the sport, into the ground during the 1990s.  Unfortunately, boxing is still reeling from that debacle.


On the flipside, NASCAR has become more popular each year.  Races held each weekend, even Busch series, are sold out well before the day of the race.  Icons Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, and Richard Petty paved the way for young guns Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Casey Kahne, and Tony Stewart.  The popularity of NASCAR grew at first in the South, but has expanded all across the country.  IRL racing continues success behind the front of NASCAR with Helio Castroneves, Sam Horhish Jr., and Danica Patrick leading the way.


Professional racing’s sole negative lies in the danger in the sport.  While people complain about the violence and dangers in boxing, boxing has nothing on pro racing.  Racing has one of the highest fatality levels of any sport in the world.  Thus, racing has endured much criticism and political pressure throughout its reign in America.


The bottom line:  We continue to look for America’s new past time.  In that vein, pro racing is the clear favorite here, and a solid contender to be America’s next new past time.  With the type of media coverage and the extent that racing is tied into pop culture, the sport has a tremendous chance to prosper for years to come.