While boxing fans seem to age and wait for their death, mixed martial arts appear younger and enthusiastic. Thanks to their young fanbase, mixed martial arts has literally been grounding and pounding professional boxing and their older fans. While the UFC has connected with their younger fans, pro boxing continues to fail at this.
With the success of The Ultimate Fighter, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been poaching pro boxing of their fans, pay-per-view audience and more recently, their sponsors. Let's be honest, professional boxing sucks and the ones to blame are the promoters and agents.
More fighting careers have been made from the UFC's television show The Ultimate Fighter than The Contender and The Next Great Champ combined. For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Contender & The Next Great Champ, both were boxing reality shows that didn't live up to the billing.
In my opinion, the only good thing about the sport of Boxing right now is amateur boxing. I enjoy the fact that the rounds are shorter and the fights are far more entertaining. Both boxing and MMA fans respect the skill and determination it takes to fight for either sport.
Getting back to amateur boxing, I enjoyed the Friday's October 1, 2010 boxing event, Empires Collide in Chinatown, NYC. In conjunction with the Chinatown Athletic Council, Dino Duva/Global Sports & Entertainment, AA Entertainment, and USA Boxing, fans were treated to a night of amateur bouts between China and the United States. Special appearances by Lou Duva and Evander Holyfield only sweetened the deal.
Fighting for Team China were Olympic Medalists Zou Shiming and Zhilei Zhang who with their other teammates demonstrated to the fans how boxing has evolved in China. Overall, the team displayed fantastic control of the ring as they would control their U.S. counterparts and dazzle the audience with their will-timed combinations and defense.
While the Chinese team appeared united, the United States team had plenty of character with fighters of various styles. Two fighters I enjoyed watch were Alyssa Defazio (Women's 165 lbs.) and Alex Martin (152 lbs.).
Watching Alyssa counter-attack her more skilled opponent, Jinzi Li to a victory was beautiful to see because both fighters were landing heavy shots and spraying the front row audience with their sweat. The fact both fighters were willing to tear each other mentally and physically apart in the ring is what fight fans wanted to see. In my opinion, this was the fight of the night.
On the other hand, Alex Martin lost to Qiong Maimaitit but I will remember him more for his boxing shoes than his boxing. Wearing a pair of boxing shoes with the Air Jordan logo was original (at least to my eyes) and proved once and for all that it's not the shoes.
In the end Team China bested Team USA 6-5 but in the end the sport of boxing won. The heart and skill every fighter demonstrated tonight has renewed my interest in amateur boxing. I look forward to seeing how both teams perform in the Olympics because they were able to do something that professional boxing has forgotten to do: entertain.
Cesar writes for Latino Sports. Please send him your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org