Posted on 12/15/2010
Boxing is still a great sport despite the myriad of flaws and problems which trouble it. Throughout 2010, some minor things bothered me which I would like to see changed in 2011 – not that these points will be changed but I feel like writing it anyway…
* Clear out all the unnecessary posers from the ring before and after the fight. The boxing ring is a special, sacred place where men risk their lives – and all these clowns and posers like Sam Watson and his two kids, publicists, lawyers, advisors, and all the various hanger-ons should NOT BE ALLOWED in the ring which devalues it. The ring should be respected as a place only for very special, brave and courageous people. I cover the NHL and it has come to my attention that we reporters are not allowed to step on the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning team logos on the carpet of their locker rooms. We must maneuver around the logo so as not to step over it with our feet. I think boxing rings should be treated with the same respect and sanctity. San Watson and his two sons don’t belong in world championship boxing rings and should try to find a different outlet to try to get their handsome faces on TV.
* Jim Lampley is a very good sportscaster, one of the best of modern times in fact. But he doesn’t need to talk during the ring entrances of the boxers. Let the moment speak for itself. The boxers have trained and sacrificed their entire lives for this night. It’s an awe-inspiring moment to see the boxer emerge from his dressing room and to enter the ring for the combat. I don’t want to hear Jim Lampley’s voice during the ring entrances, especially because he tends to chatter way too much sometimes which is like a rain on the parade of the warrior. Just let the moment speak for itself. There’s nothing a non-combatant sportscater can say to make the ring entrance moments any more interesting. So don’t even try. Less is more sometimes.
* Can the sanctioning bodies please stop making their new champions from having to buy their world title belts? The sanctioning bodies already collect their sanctioning fees from the boxers, and some people are not aware that when the boxer wins his world title in the ring he actually has to pay the sanctioning body for his new belt, a cost which is to the tune of thousands of dollars. Talk about screwing the fighters. In no other sport does the world champion have to pay for his trophy, not in tennis, not in track & field, not in football, basketball, baseball or hockey. Come on sanctioning bodies, give the fighters a break!
* I first wrote it earlier this year and one of the other boxing writers copied/stole the idea as if it was his own without giving me any credit. I say HBO should bring in non-boxing guest commentators for the big pay-per-view fights or special events, like it was done in the Ali era when stars like Redd Foxx, Pearl Bailey, Jim Brown, etc. were hired as ringside special guest commentators for Muhammad Ali fights. HBO could hire known boxing fans like Jack Nicholson, John McEnroe, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Pitt, P Diddy, Leonardo Di Caprio to discuss big fights from ringside or send a special roving reporter (Nate Campbell, John Scully, Kevin Kelley) to talk with them. How cool would that be? Boxing could certainly use some celebrity endorsements. Also, HBO could easily get these stars to say on camera, “I love boxing!” which they could use as a sort of two-second commercial throughout the year. Boxing promoters need to think more creatively. The 24/7s are fantastic, but we need much more than that to restore the sport to it’s previous popularity levels.