Boxing and The Mainstream—Infinite Love

By Marc Livitz on June 11, 2017
Boxing and The Mainstream—Infinite Love
"Their backs are against the wall. This is like a heavyweight fight between two champions."

Can it be argued to any extent that boxing shouldn’t be compared to other sports? It’s a fair question…

How often do we, as sports fans hear radio talk show hosts or television personalities throw out the now classic parallel of a game being likened to a heavyweight fight? Currently, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in a historically insurmountable, three games to one hole against the Golden State Warriors. Trends are definitely not on their side but as the fifth game of the NBA Finals, which is set to be played on Monday evening in Oakland inches closer, we’ll hear it again and again. “Their backs are against the wall,” we’ll be told. “This is just like a heavyweight fight between two champions.” Comparisons made these days are usually not salutes to such battles as Corrales/Castillo I, the Ward/Gatti trilogy, Khan/Maidana, Pacquiao/Marquez or other such legendary battles. Instead, it’s usually a throwback to 1971. The eighth of March, 1971 to be exact. That was when, of course “The Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier took place at Madison Square Garden.

Why was it so memorable and why is it still likened to the struggles of professional athletes in completely different disciplines? Because it had everything and to some members of that generation, it is still the gold standard by which to judge future contests. This writer was however a body of light in the cosmos in 1971 and still a few years removed from settling on the blue planet. To be fair, delving into it would be grabbing from the nostalgia bag and not from memory, so suffice it to say: look it up online. Ali/Frazier I was only the beginning but at the time, the world seemed to have stopped so that it could focus on New York City.

The shout outs so to speak are nice, but are they really a sign of respect or a fallback of sorts? It may sound silly, but think of it this way. Boxing has no offseason and no best-of-seven type of series. Only a few of its participants really and truly reap the rewards of superstardom. Contrast that with certain American team sports, such as baseball or basketball. Many contracts in the NBA and MLB are guaranteed and it’s not too uncommon these days to hear of players still receiving multimillion dollar incomes long after they’ve retired. Similarly, whether a basketball player or major leaguer plays in a game or not, they still receive a paycheck. This is the case whether injury or “rest” keeps the talent sidelined. Does it work that way in boxing? Of course not. If you don’t fight, then you don’t get paid.

Can a player in the NFL come into camp out of shape and still get paid? It happens all the time, but thankfully there are certain measures in place to ensure those who represent “The Shield” see it as a job as well as a privilege as opposed to just a payday. Most NFL contracts don’t come with guaranteed money, save for a handful and the career of an average professional football player is finished in less than four years. They take some serious abuse.

Boxing is very much still in a league of its own. Football (in this instance referring to soccer) holds a candle somewhat to the sweet science in terms of the level of fitness and dedication required to fully excel at the highest level. The personalities which make up the popular teams sports in America will come and go as the years pass on by. There will always just be one Ali/Frazier I. Can it be argued to any extent that boxing shouldn’t be compared to other sports? It’s a fair question. Football, baseball and basketball. Yes, they’re popular, just as is the case for professional hockey. They’re still just a game.

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Fight of Titans:♛ Muhammad Ali VS Joe Frazier 1 ♛ . Great Quality

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  1. Gajjers 05:06am, 06/12/2017

    “Baseball definitely takes more dedication and skill than soccer”. That’s a bold statement. Dunno much about baseball, except the shape of the playing area (diamond, great), their bats & their outfits/uniforms (whoever came up with that general design deserves megaprops), but honestly, ANY game/sport that doesn’t rely solely on luck for success, with a large number of participants & patrons, takes dedication plus skill for world-class success.  If all you’re doing in a top-level soccer match is running up & down for 45 minutes (twice), we’ll know where to bury your dessicated remains after wondering what you thought you were doing in the first place… Boxing at its best remains my foremost sporting interest, and fighters my favorite sporting heroes, but unless you look closely or try it out yourself, you won’t appreciate the nuances of most sporting endeavors. I guess to make it look easy, you gotta put in the hours…

  2. Alt Knight 12:06pm, 06/11/2017

    Yes, but anyone who can pass a medical exam can suddenly become a “professional fighter,” no amateur experience required. Dwight Qawi had plenty of sparring sessions with James Scott but a total of ZERO amateur fights. Try doing that in football. Even Vince Papale had played football in high school and the World Football League before trying out with the Eagles. Some football players (American version) are in fantastic shape. Take a look at Pittsburgh Steelers, James Harrison’s workout routines. And this guy is 39 years old. Soccer players? In shape? They are in shape for running up and down a field and not much else. Baseball definitely takes more dedication and skill than soccer. Hitting a baseball is one of the most difficult things to do in sports. Just step into the average batting cage where the ball travels on average a mere 80 mph, now add another 15-20 mph to that.

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