By: Sean Crose
We should have known. All of us. Three years ago, when Conor McGregor of UFC fame signed to fight the one and only Floyd Mayweather, we all eventually cast our doubts aside and watched the biggest novelty bout in history. Perhaps we thought it was a one time thing that could only draw eyeballs to the sport. How wrong we were. Mayweather-McGregor was most certainly not a one time thing. In fact, it ended up being a template for those with the purse strings to influence the business. Now, a full 36 months after Floyd beat up Conor, boxing has entered a stage where athletic competition is being sidelined by high priced curiosities.
Don’t believe it? Ask yourself if any casual sports fan you know has a real interest in the upcoming Lomachenko-Lopez fight. Chances are that fan has no idea who those top level boxers even are. If you asked that same fan if he or she would be interested in fifty something Mike Tyson entering the ring again, however, you’d be much more likely to get a positive reaction. You know it, and so do I. The public is now on the verge of seeing boxing, if at all, as a source of silly fun, while it views MMA with genuine interest and respect. That’s not good for the sport that once gave the world true cultural icons like Johnson, Dempsey, Louis, and Ali.
Of course those who are apt to make the most bank off of boxing most likely don’t care. That’s why DAZN was said to be interested in Canelo Alvarez, the most popular boxer on earth, fulfilling his contract at least partially through novelty bouts. Fights with MMA stars and former ring greats can bring in a whole lot of money. Not much competition, but a whole lot of money.
And now we have word that Mayweather may get in the ring with social media influencer Logan Paul. Perhaps he will. Or perhaps it’s all just a rumor. The fact that such a fight can be seen as a real possibility says a lot about the state of the sport right now. Picasso is said to have possibly gone through a “Circus Period,” where his paintings focused on circus like settings. Boxing’s circus period is turning into an authentic Blue Period.
And it’s time for serious fans to start ignoring this nonsense.