Boxing used to be one of the most popular sports in America. Now, just like horse racing, boxing has faded away in the minds of the American public and if boxing doesn't change then it will become less popular than hockey (mind you these are reasons that boxing can control—not issues of football's popularity, or the NBA's).
First, boxing's move to PPV has hurt its popularity. Though it has allowed for large amounts of money to flow into the sport, the number of people watching continues to decrease.
It's Kind of like movies making more money but selling fewer tickets. People don't want to follow boxing closely if it isn't available to the masses. One of the reasons football is so successful is the majority of games played on basic cable.
The lack of a charismatic and unified heavyweight champion of the world has hurt boxing as well. Boxing's popularity has always been based on the heavyweight division. Not saying that other weight classes haven't produced great stars, but when boxing was in its heyday it was men like Marciano, Louis, Ali, Frazier, Foreman, and Patterson that became some of the most famous figures in the world.
The lack of a unified title has hurt boxing as well. Before, it was known who was the heavyweight champion of the world. Whether it was Ali, Frazier, or Foreman, the world knew who was the best heavyweight in the world. Now, who can judge whether the WBA, WBC, or IBF titles is most important?
There is no one the world can admire and no one that will be gunned for by fighters. The last time their was an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world was Lennox Lewis, and before that was Riddick Bowe. Both of them had that title for less than a year.
The lack of inner city boxing clubs has hurt boxing in America too. During the depression up to the 1970s, kids in the inner city areas did not become part of the Bloods or Crips. Instead, they took part in sports and the most popular in the inner cities used to be boxing.
Now, inner city kids don't box but drop out of school and lead lives of crime or become victims of crime. The reason Mexico has produced good boxers is the inner city kids have boxed their way off the streets.
This maybe the most minor issue of all the ones raised, but to me the loss of the 15-round fight has made boxing worse. It used to be a great thing to see a man go the 15 miles as an underdog. I know that Dooku Kim's death was tragic, but it was unnecessary to shorten fights to 12 rounds.
Maybe this is the boxing romantic/Rocky fanatic in me talking, but it should be like it used to be.
These changes have made boxing a passing thought in the American media and population. If boxing doesn't change, then the sport will die and America will not only lose the sport for the future, but eventually forget the great tradition and history of this amazing sport.
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