There is this amazingly perverse narrative that boxing died with Mike Tyson’s era. Coupled with this misinformed notion is the additional belief that Floyd Mayweather’s retirement was the final nail in the sport's presumed coffin. However, these misnomers couldn’t be further than the truth.
Boxing is ablaze and for the first time in a while, its media distribution is everywhere. There is a new generation of champions, upstarts, and personalities that will fuel the fire. Boxing promoters and advisers have shown they are committed to the long haul of the sport's survival. They are joined hand in hand with network executives who have pledged the same.
This is the perfect storm of pugilistic nirvana.
Just take last weekend for example, where there were four championship fights and some ratchetness sprinkled in that made for glorious entertainment value worldwide.
Gervonta “Tank” Davis, the future of Mayweather Promotions, successfully defended his IBF junior lightweight title against Liam Walsh. The third round TKO happened on enemy territory at the Copper Box Arena in London and his mentor Floyd “Money” Mayweather was on hand in all his promotional brilliance.
Back in the States, Gary Russell, Jr. and Terence Crawford both finished their opponents on big stages. For Russell, it was his first appearance as a professional fighter in front of his hometown crowd at the MGM Grand National Harbor in Maryland. For Showtime, it was a full-circle moment as Russell became the first fighter to start his career on ShoBox the Next Generation to become a champion and defend the title on the network.
For Crawford, it was his first time performing in the big room of Madison Square Garden, colloquially known by all as the “Mecca of Boxing.” HBO did the right thing and aired the fight for its subscriber base as opposed to on pay-per-view, like it did when he fought Viktor Postol last July. After Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez claimed 1 million buys by promoter Golden Boy Promotions during Cinco de Mayo weekend, HBO is starting to reinvest in its boxing product.
Although tomfoolery overshadowed the disqualification of Jose Uzcategui against Andre Dirrell for the IBF interim super middleweight title, the outcome captivated today’s millennial audience. Leon Lawson, Jr., uncle of Andre Dirrell, sucker-punched the disqualified Uzcategui in angst, which was captured by the Showtime cameras. It made the rounds on social media and heightened interest in a division that was re-ignited by James DeGale and Badou Jack’s fight earlier this year.
When MMA began to eclipse boxing in pay-per-view buys rivaling that of WWE, the world saw that as a sign of boxing’s demise. However, pay-per-view is now becoming more and more irrelevant for the boxing model.
This weekend we have another exciting matchup between Errol Spence and Kell Brook for Brook's IBF welterweight crown. The hits just keep on coming.
Between Premier Boxing Champions bringing quality fights to network television, and the premium cable networks renewing their support for boxing, your grandfather’s sport is slowly becoming your millennial’s vintage.