I believe that the soul of any sport is when its participants have to earn everything in competition, nothing should be handed to them. This is after all why competition has rules and everyone is expected to follow them. This is why fans hate cheaters. This is most true for Boxing. After Abner Mares suffered his first defeat by knockout at the hands of veteran Johnny Gonzales, Bernard Hopkins expressed his displeasure and tweeted the following; “All guts no brains #MaresGonzalez do they teach defense today?” (@TheRealBHop). At a micro level it may appear that Hopkins is speaking about Abner Mares getting caught and knocked out. But at a macro-level there is actually a much bigger picture. The boxing master understands that the current culture of boxing is affecting not only today’s weather but the entire climate of the sport. Boxing is an ever evolving sport and the truth is its evolving into a sport that demands, more than ever, fighters to be “fan-friendly”.
Exciting fighters have and will always exist but the total lack of understanding the indirect and underlined of what makes the sport relevant and legitimate is what’s hurting the sport. Explaining how the gold turned to bronze requires much explaining. I remember being a young kid and hearing about the clash of the two titans; Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor was the first mega fight I was exposed to and the fight turned me into a life-long boxing fan. Being Mexican-American, you can probably imagine the great pride many of my uncles and my grandfather had over the Chavez triumph. I was too young to recall the controversy of the result but in hindsight I can see why the emotional investment was real and relevant. It mattered whether or not Richard Steele got the call correctly and people still argue over the controversial stoppage today. The right to a deserved victor y mattered. There really wasn’t much discussion about the result not being important because it was such a great fight, much like you hear a lot of today.