Remember those days when boxing mattered? I remember them well - I got into boxing around the end of Ali's run ... I remember the last embarrassing matches of the legend, but I also remember ABC's Wild World of Sports showing his classics against Foreman and Frazier. I remember the Thomas Hearns vs. Hagler fights, or the Sugar Ray Leonard matches. They were awesome. Heck, I even remember how big of an event it was watching the Mike Tyson PPV's with my friends, making bets on which round he was going to obliterate his opponent in. And then, starting in the 90's, the sport took a nose-dive. But why? I have a few theories:
* Don King - he made the sport popular beyond belief, but the blatant corruption he pumped into the sport ultimately took its toll. If you didn't fight for Don King, you probably weren't going to hit mainstream boxing. King usually had controlling interest in both main event fighters ... folks, that's never a good thing.
* The Rise of Mixed Martial Arts fighting - The shows are all over regular tv, and there seems to be a big PPV on a weekly basis. The fighting is real, and it's violent ... boxing looks like child's play compared to this. Fans who once got their "violence" fix from boxing, get it at a much higher rate watching UFC or Pride shows.
* Less athlete's are going to boxing - it seems like most of the talent are looking into other sports, such as football, basketball, and even baseball (not to mention MMA). Boxing no longer seems like a popular outlet for kids.
* Our society seems to be turning everyone into whimps - when I was a kid and played tee-ball, we actually kept score ... and one team won while the other team lost. As kids, we learned a valuable lesson that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Unfortunately, I've heard that many of these youth clubs don't allow scoring in sports - what lesson is learned there? So much for competitiveness. Boxing could never work in this situation.