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Old 07-31-2007, 05:26 AM   #1
fists of fury
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Default The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

The Heavyweight Championship used to be the "shining bauble in sports." It used to be THE title - the most prestigious in all of sports.
It was so in Dempsey's time, in Louis' Time and later in Marciano's time.

Kids used to skip to songs of Joe Louis during recess. There were literally dozens of songs about him, or songs referring to him. He was chased by corporations desperate to have his name on their products.
Harlem and other places used to go ballistic whenever Louis won or lost. People would line the streets, shouting and cheering and savouring the moment of his wins. Of course, his fights (as well os those of Dempsey's and Marciano's) made news headlines, at least on the sports pages and sometimes even on the front page.
In Marciano's time, it was said that you could look down the main street in Brockton on fight night and not find a single soul walking around - they were all listening to Rocky fighting on the radio or watching him on TV.
Back in these guy's times, the heavyweight champion was THE man. Everyone knew who the heavyweight champion was.

Looking at things today, you have to wonder where it all went wrong. The fall of boxing as the second most popular sport in the US has surely not helped, but I'd still imagine most people should know who the heavyweight champion is.
Honestly, I have trouble naming the current belt holders. There's Klitschko whom I enjoy watching, but the other guys just aren't signficant in any way. I don't know their records or who they have fought. Trouble is, I don't really care either.
It's not just today's crop of fighters.
How much of a splash did Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis or Larry Holmes make in the greater scheme of things? Were they a symbol of their times the way Ali, Dempsey, Louis or Macriano were?
Sure, Evander was hugely popular in Atlanta where he lived, but did kids in New York or elsewhere go bananas when he won? Did people fill the streets laughing and singing his name?
Lennox was probably not even the most popular heavyeight in his own country, never mind anywhere else.
Holmes? He has a street named after him, but that's about it.

Tyson for a spell, seemed to be taking the heavyweight championship back into mainstream conciousness and would for a while, enjoy (almost) the same kind of attention that his predecessors enjoyed by the media and public at large. In the end though, he became more an embarrasment than an asset to boxing, and people wanted nothing to do with him.
At least though, he did show that it was not purely boxing's decline as a popular sport that made people not really care who the heavyweight champion was.

Why have attitudes changed?
How much significance does the heavyweight championship of the world still carry?
What will the situation be like in the next 20 or 30 years? Will there be a revival of 'the biggest title in sports' or will it now and forever be a title only boxing fans in particular care about?
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

The heavyweights are duds these days.

Plus you got to realise heavyweight champ used to be the pinnacle of sport.

TOP MONEY everything..

Sport has grown and now there are people bouncing a basketball or kicking a soccer ball getting 10times what the heavyweight champ gets..

Plus society has gone soft.You got all these do gooders saying boxing is barbaric etc..

Kids are playing ***** sports like baseball,soccer,basketball etc.

Times have changed....

Aint much heart anymore.
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Money is the problem. I don't want to sound like a communist, but fighters can make millions just fighting easy fights and padding their records without taking a risk. And in todays time, if you lose one fight (especially within the limit), you're done. So no one wants to take that risk anymore.

Due to human nature, corruption is an irreversible process. Unless jesus is ressurected and makes some miracles happen, there will always be 3 or 4 title belts. Unification, which is already highly unlikely as it happened two times in the last 20 years (three times if you count the upcoming Ibragimov (WBO) vs Chagaev (WBA) fight), would solve this. But governing bodies are ridiculously easy to strip fighters for ridiculously bad fighters (Ray Austin for instance).

Having to pay 50 dollars to be able to watch a stinker like 46 year old Holyfield vs 40 year old Lou Savarese doesn't help things either.
If you have a fighter who is just like Ali in both ability and character, but who will only fight Evangelista's and at best a Quarry to win his title, and who never gets any attention on tv or other media, then no one will ever watch his fights or get to know him. Names and charater sells. The WWF promotors knows this all too well. I'm not saying that boxing should become a freak show like that, but you have to be realistic; with all the PPV's, no one is going to recognise any boxer and when that happens, the sport is as good as dead.



Another factor is that society has changed. Over the last decades, more and more people think boxing is too brutal. Maybe because in the old days, people had less luxery and therefore were used to life being more rough. But life isn't going to get any less luxerous so this tendency is not likely to change. Seeing how ****ed up former boxing icons like Ali and Tyson are currently doesn't give the sport a better name either.



Maybe more important, in the current society, people don't seem to be willing to really take time for something anymore. Fewer than ever young people still read the papers. Everything has to be fast. Who wants to go in town and buy a CD and view the artwork/lyrics when you can just download the mp3 and move on? Who wants to do old fashioned running ? Everyone wants the hyped up Billy Blanks fitness stuff and related programs that "will make you lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks by doing one half an hour of work a day". Look good without spending time on it.

Trying to sell the idea of two men boxing for twelve (not fifteen) rounds is very hard to sell when you can also watch two men fighting for 3 rounds where they can also use their legs. K1, UFC etc may not last long in popularity, but at this moment they are much better to sell because the fights are much shorter. It simply fits better in society. The reason that we went from 15 rounds to 12 is all the same.


In Germany, boxing is pretty popular at this moment. You can see fights on national German television for free although that's only a few saturday nights a month. Perhaps the future lies in eastern Europe.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Great post and bang on the money chris....In the eighties and nineties boxing was very big and even the common man knew tyson,leonard,hagler,benn,bruno and eubank. The fights were free on tv,the fights were exciting,The best tried to fight the best,and the boxers were characters......
PBF v de la hoya or b-hopkins v wright!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! P4P greats???????!!!!!!! BORING BORING AND EXPENSIVE........Id prefer an exciting free undercard between real fighters risking greatness....
Is it any wonder why no people in the street will know pbf? Enzo v braitwaite was better than the shit that goes on supposedly world class ppv.....Some boxers have forgotten they are there to entertain as well. as win...It can be done,just ask tommy hearns how its done....
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Slightly off topic, but where actually is the original championship belt? Like the one Joe Louis had? because nowadays its all WBO this and IBF that.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

And WTF that.......
The undisputed WTF belt.......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin'Joe100
Slightly off topic, but where actually is the original championship belt? Like the one Joe Louis had? because nowadays its all WBO this and IBF that.
That's the problem. There isn't a champion. There's just titlists.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:26 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

The Heavyweight Champion is supposed to be the baddest man on the planet, he's supposed to be able to lick any sonofabitch in the house. We dont see that these days. HW's these days no longer impress the casual fans. There is no larger than life stars in the Heavyweight Division. The lower divisions are great but they will never carry the sport. So its up to the HW's to do so. Unfortunately the excitement is gone. When was the last time you saw a HW Chamption score a 1st Round KO? IF you count the WBO belt then it was 2 years ago Brewster Golota. Otherwise it was 10 years ago Lennox Lewis vs. Golota.

-Corruption doesnt help, belts getting splintered

-Better prospects in team sports. The average boxer makes far less than the average Basketball, Football (American and otherwise), Baseball, Etc.

-Fighters get written off and bad press when they lose a fight. So and so got exposed....
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Too many title belts.
Too many boring fighters.
No Unified champion
PPV's
HW MMA champion is now the baddest man on the planet... (had to sneak that in there)
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin'Joe100
Slightly off topic, but where actually is the original championship belt? Like the one Joe Louis had? because nowadays its all WBO this and IBF that.
The original belts are the WBC and the WBA.
A group splintered off from the unified belt and created their own belt called the WBA belt, they were unhappy because they didn't want Ali to give Liston a rematch and wanted Ali to face the mandatory.
The old organization then called itself the WBC.
The IBF was then created in the early eighties.
The WBO was then created in the late eighties.
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