Is boxing a dying sport? Many, including boxers like Joe Calzaghe, sure think so. Fighters like Joe Calzaghe are also a big part of the reason for boxing's problems.
It was very hypocritical for Calzaghe to make the statements that he did on ESPN, for Calzaghe is also guilty of dodging the best fighters in the world by beating up on Europe's best (I tried my hardest not to laugh at "best," but failed miserably).
But Calzaghe is chump change compared to Floyd Mayweather Jr., the self-proclaimed "greatest boxer ever." Mayweather has been skillfully dodging quality opponents more effectively than he dodges punches in the ring. Miguel Cotto's camp tried to get Mayweather to the negotiating table, but "Pretty Boy" was busy lining his pockets with WWE appearances and various other schemes.
Cotto was knocked out in one of the better fights of the last couple years against Antonio Margarito. Speaking of Margarito, Mayweather's camp has dodged Margarito's for a couple years now. After seeing what Margarito did to Cotto, we can almost assuredly kiss that matchup goodbye.
Now we have Manny Pacquiao coming into the picture. His dismantling of Oscar De La Hoya earlier this month caught the boxing world by storm (although I'm not really sure why—I predicted that Manny would win in under 10 rounds). Manny's camp said that they would fight Mayweather at 140 (which Mayweather fought at as recently as 2005). I'm sure Mayweather will find a reason to dodge this one as well.
Supporters of Mayweather have claimed that at 31, with a 39-0 record, Floyd has nothing left to prove. There's many ways to refute this, but the best one is by comparison to the true "greatest fighter of all time"—Muhammad Ali.
Ali had fought better fighters than Mayweather even before he turned 30, yet he saw fighters like Frazier, Norton, and Foreman out there and decided that he did in fact have something to prove well into his 30s. Ali's return brought on the best time period in boxing, with some of the most memorable fights in boxing history.
I'm not questioning Mayweather's ability in the ring in any way. But facts are facts. The only question is if he will ever make the conscious decision to step into the world of greatness that only a handful truly have. Mayweather could provide some historic moments of his own if he would "man up."
Boxing is slowly losing the fight popularity contest to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) because of fighters like Calzaghe and Mayweather. The best fighters dodge each other, and even when there's a decent fight scheduled, the undercard will be a bad joke. Did any of you see the undercard fights for the Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight? Every fight ended in two rounds or less. Most of the PPV telecast was talk filler.
Many people I've talked with were very bitter over the cost of the Pacquiao-De La Hoya card, and being the sports fan that I am, I couldn't defend boxing this time around.
In fact, when was the last time we saw a boxing card similar to the UFC card coming up at the end of the year? I honestly can't think of any boxing card in the last decade that even comes close to what's scheduled at UFC 92.
Until boxing makes some critical changes (the list of changes that needs to happen is extensive, but for another time and article) and puts its foot down against the fight-dodging fighters, boxing is going to continue its march towards futility.