Why I’m Thankful for Boxing
By: Brandon Bernica
Last Saturday’s highly controversial decision between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev left boxing in an all-too familiar place. We witnessed another great fight tainted by the subjective scores of three ringside judges. Hardcore fans decried the outcome and casual fans confirmed their presuppositions about boxing’s ineptitude.
Every time I sit down at my computer to write about this sport, I’m never at a loss to write about something the sport is completely failing at. At this point, the laundry list is exhaustive: poor judging, corrupt state commissions, two-faced promoters flirting with litigation purgatory. I was fully prepared to jot down something.
But today, it hit me. Actually, maybe it was the season of Thanksgiving that hit me…
I’m really thankful for the sport of boxing.
I’m thankful for every fighter who laces up a pair of gloves to fight. These fighters battle pressure and nerves that we fans could never empathize with. Every moment inside the ring is one punch away from permanent harm. Too often we take this for granted.
I’m thankful for the different styles of fighters present in the sport. When I watch Guillermo Rigondeaux, I learn how to pick apart another fighters defense with subtle movements. When I watch Gennady Golovkin, I appreciate his ability to cut off the ring. When I watch Orlando Salido, I appreciate the beauty of making such a rugged style into something so effective.
I’m thankful for boxing’s failures. Yes, every one of them. The plethora of mistakes the sport has made only brings greater light to the problems it needs to fix. The transparency in boxing is unfiltered like no other sport.
Hopefully, fans and industry heads can use that transparency to check the sport, cracking down on its unbridled shenanigans once and for all.
I’m thankful for our sport’s announcers. Every fight, I hear about how such-and-such broadcaster is biased towards a particular camp. Yet not enough credit is given to the way these announcers handle the action in the ring with eloquence and poise. Listening to Jim Lampley makes me want to find something in life that I can describe with as much articulation as he does with boxing. In spite of the occasional controversy, listening to Paulie Malignaggi analyze the finer points of fighting makes me want to go out there and try to fight myself.
I’m thankful for some of the great venues the sport has uplifted with great fights. The Stubhub Center has become a mainstay for all-out brawls, while the new T-Mobile Arena bodes well for the future of big fights. Even clubs, hotels, and casinos that give lower-level fighters a chance to delight in the spotlight are beneficial to the sport.
And finally, I’m thankful for the diehard fans of this sport. Without their unbelievable patience amidst the politics of the sport, there would be no legs for boxing to stand on. Even though they’re consistently burned by dubious promoters and corrupt schematics, they still shell out money, hoping that the sport will finally grow beyond its niche. We can protest bad decisions, call out garbage fights, demand a better product, but we can NOT give up on boxing. Because sometimes, seeing the glass half-full is the first step towards real change.