Point/Counterpoint: Why is boxing dead?

BY DI STAFF | MAY 08, 2015 5:00 AM

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If you’re doing a postmortem on what caused the death of boxing, you don’t have to look very far.

What killed boxing? Boxing killed boxing.

Think about it like this: Contact sports such as football and hockey each carry their own risks when it comes to head injuries and concussions, and both have been discussed heavily about what changes can be made to make these injuries less likely.

You can take the high hits out of football (or try, at least). You can take the head shots and fighting out of hockey. You can’t take the fighting out of boxing, for obvious reasons.

Given all that has come out in the last 20 years about brain trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, sports fans have become extremely empathetic about the toll these injuries take on athletes.

In 2015, it’s kind of hard to watch a slow-motion close-up of a boxer’s fist crushing another guy’s head and violently jerking it back without having at least a little bit of guilt about the effect it’s going to have on the poor guy later in life.

Just look at Muhammad Ali — a man who was once a symbol of skill and athletic ability has been reduced to a vegetable in his old age.

Who wants to see that happen again?

—  Ryan Rodriguez

Pay Per View

If you wanted to watch the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight that took place May 2, it would have cost you a casual $89.95 for standard definition. For high definition, you can tack on an extra $10.

In a town full of poor college kids, or really anyone for that matter, $100 is a steep price to pay for an event that will last less than an hour.

Even more, any bar wanting to show the fight had to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to have it on its TV screens. That resulted in the majority of establishments in Iowa City opting not to show the event that “could have saved boxing.”

Imagine having to dish out $100 every Sunday to watch your favorite football team play instead of just flipping to a network channel. It’s unlikely that most people would want to do so and even more unlikely that they would consider the price worth it to buy every game — especially the ones against dismal teams.

The unwillingness of viewers to pay for matches that are not between huge names such as Mayweather or Pacquiao is what is causing professional boxing to tumble into irrelevancy.

Many observers said the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight was supposed to save boxing, but it may have had the opposite effect. Not many people were happy about the outcome — a 48-0 decision in favor of Mayweather — or thought the fight was worth the price.

To make matters worse, Mayweather flaunted his $180 million check from the fight. The fighters no longer fight for the glory of the sport, they fight for the eight- to nine-figure paychecks they receive after each of the two fights they compete in each year.

— Courtney Baumann

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