I've always noticed something about mixed martial arts fans, particularly UFC fans: They love their sport so much they can't comprehend the idea, a very simple concept of some people not liking the sport, or at least not liking it as much as they do. To them, one showing a lack of devotion to mma, and more specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship seems foreign, almost inconceivable because the mma fan base has become in large part a place where independent thought is not allowed, especially when it comes to having a critical view of the sport.
When Nate Wilcox wrote an article comparing the success of the UFC's free fight night on Fox, and that of the fourth and perhaps final meeting between the legendary Manny Pacquiao and his equally great rival Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez, some folks on this website went crazy. The very notion of a boxing (Oh, no!) event being more successful than their coveted UFC on Fox card simply cannot hold true to reality, because well according to many half wit know nothings within the mma fan world, boxing is dead...remember?
But one must realize if one has a brain and an ability to comprehend basic functions of again, reality, a sport really can't die off, not like say a sports league. For example about seven years ago during the last NHL lockout, people were saying the National Hockey League wouldn't survive, notice they didn't say hockey wouldn't survive. Hockey, which is a sport, will always have its loyal participants, same as boxing, mma, football, soccer, and what have you.
There's a difference between sports leagues going under like the XFL, the USFL, NFL Europe, and a host of others who overshot their mark and aimed too high. But football itself, the sport, went on as those leagues faded to black. MMA fans have developed a natural knee jerk disdain for boxing because mma is or was suppose to phase it out completely...remember? We were told this new form of fighting was better than boxing and would overtake it.
Instead, we've seen both combat sports succeed, fade, bounce back, and develop into two forms of entertainment that can both coexist in a world big enough for both of them. Yes, boxing did better than the UFC this weekend, get over it and stop being so butt hurt.
Actually, last year's UFC on Fox in November also got crushed by Pacquiao-Marquez 3, and the most recent Floyd Mayweather fight also crushed the UFC event held on the same night.
The UFC might not be around in the next fifteen years, but mma will forever be a sport folks are interested in. Golden Boy and Top Rank might be gone in fifteen years but boxing is something that will also remain. We often live and die by the American view from an American market standpoint, yet boxing is more popular in Europe, Mexico, and South America than mma. The Klitschkos are more famous throughout the entire European continent than every European mma fighter combined. I have yet to see one European fighter from the UFC fill a newly built soccer stadium with over 55,000 people against a no name mandatory challenger.
Boxing is much more than American boxing, remember that. There are fighters out there who aren't even known to American fight fans that sell out every time they step between the ropes. Sure Manny Pacquiao lost on Saturday but make no mistake new stars are on the horizon.
When you really think about it, there's only two fights the UFC can put in a stadium here in America: GSP-Silva or Jones-Silva. Boxing can and has put on stadium shows that don't involve the two biggest stars in the sport: Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Miguel Cotto fought Yuri Foreman at Yankee Stadium, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fights in El Paso at the Sun Bowl stadium, Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Marquez were once rumored to headline a fight at Cowboys Stadium.
Boxing to this day holds several attendance records for stadium fights. MMA can't even sell 30,000 in America where it's supposedly more popular than boxing.
Don't get it twisted, boxing ain't going nowhere fast. People have predicted and wished its demise for decades and yet the sport still moves on. I'm starting to think perhaps mma fans feel threatened by boxing's recent success. They were told by Dana White that the sport would go the way of the dinosaur and yet it hasn't. Boxing fans never feel threatened by mma's success, or at least now they don't because most boxing fans realize that both sports can occupy the same space. I loved Strikeforce and PRIDE, but I'm always going to choose boxing first because I'm a long time student of the sport and overall fan. That doesn't mean I hate mixed martial arts. I may hate the UFC but I don't hate the sport itself.
So don't get mad at Nate for stating the facts, but appreciate the huge dose of combat sports you got this weekend and shut the heck up. This boxing versus mma stuff is dumb, it's a non issue, it's finished.
MMA has stars past, present, and future, so does boxing. Adrien Broner, Canelo Alvarez, Nonito Donaire, Abner Mares, Andre Ward, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and a host of others will eventually fill the space left vacant by the sport's elder statesmen.
Canelo Alvarez and Adrien Broner in particular will most likely become the two biggest stars in the sport. Broner enjoys a regular million plus viewership for his fights while Canelo could sell out Estadio Azteca against any no name fighter.
If I came down a little hard with the hammer I apologize. I just hate when these fanboys throw a tantrum about boxing. Let it go, boxing is starting to right the ship, mma will be fine.
Boxing is Dead and Here's Why:
"Boxing Back on Network Television, CBS and NBC to Air Live Cards in December" by Paul Magno of Yahoo Sports
But boxing is dead.
Chavez Jr.-Martinez: 475,000 PPV buys
But boxing is still dead.
Pacquiao v Marquez 4: 10.5 Million live gate, 16,000 sold out MGM Grande Garden Arena
Boxing is so dead it's not even funny
Boxing's Top Draws (Worldwide, not in order)
Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Is boxing less popular in America than twenty years ago? Yes, is it less popular worldwide? No. Are less white people watching boxing than twenty years ago? Yes because most fight fans who are white are now a majority of the mma target demographic, whereas boxing still enjoys an almost monopolized grip on Hispanic and African American audiences.
So in closing no one doubts the decline in popularity among the US market, but to say boxing as a whole is in decline would disrespect the very concept of common sense. But to boxing fans we shouldn't view 2012 as a goal but a standard, moving into the new year. Boxing needs a lot of work before we gain complete acceptance back into the mainstream.
But you simply cannot look at 2012 in total and say boxing didn't have an overall solid year.