Reports of Boxing's Demise Have Been Overexaggerated

Published on May 4th, 2015 8:59 am EST

This past weekend, Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Jr. extended his perfect record to 48-0 with a victory over Manny Pacquiao. The "fight of the century", as it was billed by many in the media, posted some incredible numbers (there are reports of as many as 4 million PPV buys in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico) and dominated the sports landscape for the weekend.

With a PPV buy number like this, it goes without saying that many people were watching one of their first ever boxing PPVs. For a sport that has been struggling over the past decade of so, this was seen as the perfect opportunity to introduce new fans to the "sweet science".

The "problem", however? Mayweather was Mayweather, using his quickness and exemplary defensive boxing to score a unanimous decision victory over Pacquiao. Those hoping for a back-and-forth brawl straight out of "Rocky" were left nonplussed and disappointed. Boxing, it seemed, had missed its big opportunity. In a world saturated with sports content, boxing had missed the opportunity to convert people to boxing fans.

In the aftermath of the disappointing fight, many people took to Twitter and other forms of social media to declare that "boxing was dead". With Mayweather soon to be retiring, they said, boxing would have no major draws left and would retreat to the shadows, joining the likes of professional bowling. MMA fans were especially happy about the turn of events, arguing that all of boxing's fans would have no choice but to come over to the "more exciting" sport.

The reality of the situation is that boxing will likely remain in a strange area for quite some time - not quite as big as it used to be, but still capable of moving the needle, especially with the right star. The fact remains that boxing remains IMMENSELY popular throughout the world, including large patches of Asia, North America, Latin America and Europe. These fans aren't just going to disappear. Instead, while PPV buys may falter without "Money" to lead the charge, these fans will patiently wait for the next superstar, who is almost certain to one day appear. There is just too much money at stake for this not to happen, especially with the continued involvement of networks such as HBO in the sport.

Will this next generation of superstars work their way up the ranks, or will they suddenly appear on the scene (ie Olympics)? One thing is for sure - boxing is not yet dead, despite what fans of mixed martial arts may think.

In reality, there doesn't have to be a "winner" when it comes to the boxing vs MMA debate. One sport doesn't have to "die" for the other sport to prosper.


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