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  • Writer's picturePaul Weir

"Boxing's Resurgence: The Battle for Its Epic Redemption"

In recent times, the noble art of boxing has found itself under a relentless barrage of criticism, its legacy questioned. The sacred ring, once a battleground for epic clashes, has transformed into a stage where emerging fighters parade inflated records. In contrast, colossal battles between titans have become as elusive as a shooting star. Meanwhile, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stands triumphant, draped in accolades as the undisputed zenith of combat sports. As someone who has traversed the labyrinthine corridors of the fight game, donning gloves as an amateur and professional, and embracing roles as an agent, mentor, and most recently, a cut man, this bitter truth is akin to swallowing a bitter pill. But it's high time to shatter this deceptive facade – boxing is not on its deathbed; it's embroiled in an existential battle for its very soul.

Recent events, such as the seismic rematch between Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr., hosted in the heart of Manchester, have ignited a roaring fire of hope. This electrifying pugilistic spectacle unleashed knockdowns that resonated with the raw essence of combat, culminating in a 10th-round stoppage that transcended the boundaries of sport and etched itself into the annals of epic redemption.

One undeniable truth remains steadfast: boxing is immortal. Max Kellerman, the wise sage of the squared circle, eloquently extols its magnetic allure. The mere sight of a street brawl possesses the power to arrest even the most relentless passersby, ensnaring them in the unfiltered drama that defines boxing and setting it apart as an unrivaled spectacle among all sports.

Furthermore, boxing safeguards a trove of generational talent. The likes of Canelo Alvarez, Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, Oleksandr Usyk, Tyson Fury, Noya Inoue, and Artur Beterbiev form a celestial pantheon of pugilistic brilliance. With this constellation of stars, boxing has the potential to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, mirroring the stratospheric ascent of mixed martial arts (MMA) and the UFC, thus reclaiming its throne in the annals of sporting greatness.

Regrettably, over the past decade, the sport's luminaries have often taken the path of least resistance, avoiding epic encounters that leave fans yearning for the thunderous collisions they deserve. Promoters like Bob Arum, Oscar De La Hoya, Eddie Hearn, and Frank Warren bear the weight of responsibility for this heart-wrenching trend, depriving the public of the pugilistic spectacles that fuel their passionate desires. De La Hoya's role in organizing the Davis vs. Garcia bout cannot erase the indelible memory of the Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin clash, an event that materialized only in 2017, years after the fervent pleas of fans. The excess of championship belts further complicates the landscape, enabling a deluge of fighters to stake their claim to a single throne within a division.

It's a formidable task, yet boxing could draw inspiration from the UFC's paradigm, a crucible where supreme warriors engage in battle at the peak of their careers, fueled by the fervent passions of fans. While the UFC wrestles with its own internal challenges, from wage disputes to recent betting scandals, it consistently delivers scintillating, high-stakes, high-quality duels.

In stark contrast, boxing enthusiasts have endured a parched landscape devoid of such fiery action. However, a beacon of hope emerges on the horizon. The upcoming rematch between Crawford and Spence, for instance, holds the promise of redemption. This blockbuster clash, featuring two gladiators from divergent networks at the zenith of their careers, serves as a clarion call for transformation.

Battles of this titanic magnitude rekindle the belief that boxing is not a dying ember; it's a relentless blaze surging back to life. Recent skirmishes, such as David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant, demonstrate that monumental rivalries still exist in the super-middleweight division, with audacious warriors challenging the sport's demigods, including the indomitable Canelo Alvarez.

Whispers of a confirmed rematch agreement between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence tantalize the senses. Despite the scars of past disappointments, one can't help but cling to the belief that this colossal collision will, at long last, pierce the veil of obscurity.

Nevertheless, the onus rests heavily on the shoulders of boxing's luminaries and their governing bodies to discard their egos and give birth to these colossal clashes. Fans, who were denied the spectacle of a prime Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao encounter, deserve nothing less. These battles possess the potential to electrify the sport, captivating global audiences, much like the seismic matchups that have propelled the UFC to its zenith.

In conclusion, while the golden age of boxing may have dimmed, a glimmer of hope persists on the horizon. Ultimately, it falls upon the shoulders of the sport's luminous stars and their custodians to orchestrate these epic confrontations. And while we're at it, why not resurrect the revered HBO Boxing series and the iconic 24/7 documentary, rekindling the rich tapestry of the sport's history and legacy? Perhaps boxing should consider adopting a page from the MMA playbook, encouraging fighters to align with a single governing body or division, making it simpler to forge sensational duels. Food for thought in the quest to reignite the blazing inferno of boxing!

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