Saturday, January 16, 2010

Boxing In America - 'State' Of The Union Addressed

For years, the sport of boxing has long awaited a seminal moment to help resuscitate an all but flat-lined heartbeat. With a cast of formidable competitors on the horizon, rather than counting the endless possibilities that have yet to come, we now pick up the pieces of a fractured showdown that's all but done.....despite the fact that it never quite happened to begin with. As we move beyond the finger pointing and malicious venom, the writing on the wall is rather evident. What does that writing tell us? Well.....Apparently that this sport was built on the foundation of men who give us few answers to the present, and no regrets from the past. All the famed stories about crooked judges and mob gambling circles seemed so distant, yet despite the changing faces, we learn yet again that the game remains the same....a new testament, so to speak.

For weeks, the broken down negotiations surrounding Floyd Mayweather jr. and Filipino Manny Pacquiao led to a divisive path amongst fight fans, forcing some who loved Pacquiao to abandon him, and giving those who hated Mayweather one more reason to do precisely that. What's unfortunate is that the two men in the middle of this fiasco being torn apart are the epitome of why this sport should simply come together; Yet as the smoke settles and the details fall towards the canvass, we learn that the only thing still up in the air is our affinity, as such a disaster like this leaves it without a place to truly call home. In an era dominated by other sports, even the emergence of MMA has done little to assist Boxing in changing its rather evil ways. For decades, many who have followed the sport witnessed some of the most unquestionable efforts yield highly questionable results, and despite the talk of a new day being upon us, recent times have somehow found a way to parallel that blueprint, giving the sport one two many black-eyes.

Malignaggi/Diaz I, Funkea/Guzman, and a ton of other fights have shown us exactly how corrupt this sport can still be, but the chaos behind the dead negotiations of Team Mayweather and Team Pacquiao speak far greater than any other travesty witnessed in the history of the sport. A failure to adhere to randomized testing has led many of us to question Manny Pacquiao, but the more and more you think of how dirty this sport has been, as well as the men around him who help run it, the more reality sets in that maybe......just maybe.....this was all simply an aggregate of the whole? At the root cause of this effect is Bob Arum, a promoter who has done some uncharted things for the sport of boxing, yet by no means is he beyond some of the accusations that currently occupy his airspace. A bitter feud between he and Mayweather going back years to their own personal split have led many to question whether or not he is in fact the ultimate culprit in these broken negotiations. When you get beyond that possibility and look at the remaining members of the Pacquiao supporting cast, honcho's like Gacal, Koncz, and company; it's quite easy to comprehend how politics in ones homeland can evolve into 'politics' abroad.

What's sad is that whether we analyze this latest fiasco or the entire history of the sport itself, the one common thread is that it all always starts and ends with a room full of men who put their personal interest before their popular purpose. On a platform meant to entertain the world, more often than not, in the end, the only ones entertained are these men of power. And as they do their business behind closed doors and under the table, fight fans around the globe remain seated with empty plates before them, hungry for change. Why blame Manny Pacquiao? Why blame Floyd Mayweather jr.? At the end of the day, despite their larger-than-life status, these are simply two pawns in the midst of a game-board that has played many in the past, with more lined up for the future. Circumstance can often force us to accuse one man or the other, but why investigate a 'smoking gun' when the true answers lie within the corrupt minds of all the men over the course of the years who once held it? The operative question as we march forward is "why can't the sport rise up"? The easy's run by the birds (vultures) and the birds fly south! Let there be no more questions, as this reality ends them all.....THERE WILL BE NO PROGRESS MADE IN BOXING UNTIL THE 'STATE' OF OUR UNION IS COMPLETELY ADDRESSED! We didn't get the fight that we wanted, but hopefully the failed attempt will serve as a seed of birth to provide the change we so desperately need!


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