"You brought up a good point about us -- we don't even talk about it enough. The sport does not market itself. There's no one there to do that. So you get the perception that mixed martial arts is really climbing. The reality is, when you see a big fight, whether it's De La Hoya-Pacquiao or De La Hoya-Mayweather, or whatever, you realize -- and I'm not knocking mixed martial arts, I think that sport's good and the participants are tough guys -- but Ultimate Fighting's not a pimple on the ass of boxing.
When you see boxing, with those pay-per-view buys, and one fighter making $40 million and the other fighter making $20 million, you say, "Are you kidding me? You think (the UFC is) making inroads into boxing? No, no, no. They don't come close. Not when it comes to the big fights. But the problem is, that's what boxing has come to, where you only get that one big fight a year or one every two years.That's the problem. You don't have the public talking about all the other fights in between."
-- Teddy Atlas, talking to AOL Fanhouse.
How does one respect Teddy Atlas yet also find this drivel impossible to stomach? Atlas is correct that the truly marquee boxing match-ups garner massive attention, much more so than even the bigger UFC fights or events. But this is typical boxing apologist sleight of hand. Both fights referenced by Atlas involve De La Hoya: the most popular figure in North American combat sports who is likely to retire this year. Without his contribution to the sport, the picture changes quite dramatically. And Atlas simply cannot accept this reality. Boxing apologists keep attaching their arguments to support boxing to illusory benchmarks or temporary realities with little to no acknowledgement for long term prospects.
But they do so at their own peril. Were it not for their pride, boxing diehards could probably do enough to keep the sport afloat after De La Hoya retires. Unfortunately, most are too mired in their own outdated fundamentalist worldview where boxing's place in history or culture is immutable to realize those positions aren't as permanent as they seem to think.
More on Atlas here.