Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Boxing In The Post Mayweather-Pacquiao Era

So I'm finally back to writing about boxing, the sport I love. For the past few weeks I've taken a bit of a hiatus, you see. Why? Because I was burned out. Exhausted. Drained. It's been a big year for those of us who cover the fight biz, so big that I found I had to walk away from it for a while - something I'm not in the habit of doing.

Blame it on Floyd and Manny. For the hated Mayweather-Pacquiao match last spring was such an insanely over the top big deal that it was actually unwieldy. Still, the bout was a hit - a huge, huge hit. People may disdain the memory of it now, but the match brought in millions of eyeballs and millions of dollars. Boxing, for once, was in the spotlight. Not just the sport's spotlight, the pop cultural spotlight, as well.

The stress. The interviews. The backbiting. The deadlines. It was all a bit much, frankly. Truth be told, I'm happy that I'll never see anything like it again.

Yet Mayweather-Pacquiao brought those of us who put time, effort and even professionalism into the sport of boxing to a high point. It had always been a dream of mine, for instance, to be read by a lot of individuals. That dream was accomplished in the leadup to May 2nd. For during that period I was read by far more people than  it takes to become a New York Times bestselling author. Heady stuff.

Now those days are gone, though.  Forever.

Boxing may become popular in the mainstream again - in fact, I think it has a solid chance, to - but the mania we saw leading up to May 2nd won't return during most of our lifetimes. There's bound to be a bout as big as or bigger than Mayweather-Pacquiao sooner or later, but chances are it won't come around for a long, long time.

So yeah, the spotlight may return to boxing again, but it  won't be as bright as it was this year. Even if boxing gets as popular as, say, the NBA, it STILL won't carry with it the hype Mayweather-Pacquiao did. That event was an oddity. And oddities are infrequent things.

So, where to from here?      

Why to the fights, of course. There's some great one's lined up for this fall and if boxing keeps delivering great matchups the number of steady viewers will continue to rise. That's nothing but a good thing.

It's also time to keep an eye on rising talent and stars that may have been heretofore overlooked. There's some real talent out there and it's worth getting excited about some of these guys without placing them in the shadows of Floyd and Manny. Those two  may still be fighting, but their era is winding down.

And that ain't such a bad development.

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