What has happened to boxing?
by Mike Feinberg THE FIGHTING NEWS REPORTER
Back in 2008, I was very excited when I arrived in New York to see the first heavyweight unification bout in many, many years. Wladimir Klitschko would challenge Sultan Ibragimov for their respective versions of the division. Madison Square Garden was booming that night & several stars hung about ringside. I was grabbing a drink with my cousin when I turned around & nearly knocked over Bob Costas (he’s much shorter in person, by the way). The fight was not all it was cracked up to be, as it went down as one of the most uninteresting fights in the history of Professional Boxing. Boos roared through the arena, as barely a handful of punches were even thrown for minutes on end. In the end, though, Klitschko was declared the winner by decision and had unified the WBA & IBF Heavyweight Championships. To this day, he still owns bragging rights to both of those belts.
Flash forward, if you will, to today, May 9, 2014. Tomorrow night, the (in some opinions) most prestigious belt of all, the WBC Heavyweight Championship is on the line after Vitali Klitschko recently vacated it due to his retirement from the sport and his focus on his candidacy for the 2015 run for President of Ukrain. Two men will step into the ring and, for the first time since 2008, there will be a heavyweight champion not named Klitschko. The problem is that no one really seems to know anything about the fight.
People, this is the World Heavyweight Championship we’re talking about here. Once upon a time, that was an event that would make businesses close down and the whole world tune in. Now, I haven’t heard a word about this fight from anyone. I see no signs & hear no advertisements. The most unbelievable part for me is this: this is not a PPV event nor is it on Showtime nor HBO. This event is being aired on ESPN. Really? I mean, ESPN is not a slouch network by any means, as it airs countless championships for many sports and is THE sports network, but what happened?
Last week, the Welterweight Championship was a PPV event with Mayweather & Maidana. For some reason, even as rare an event as this is, it is apparently not worthy of a PPV spot. By the way, does anyone even know who’s fighting for the
(one time) most prestigious sports award in the world? Probably not. Let me break it down for you.
Bermane Stiverne will be taking on Chris Arreola for the championship. These guys are the #1 & #2 contenders, respectively, by current WBC rankings. Stiverne beat Arreola in April 2013 by unanimous decision after Arreola suffered a broken nose in Round 3. These two fighters are bound to put on a show when they lace them up & step in front of one another on Saturday night. The winner of this one will most likely go on to fight Wladimir Klitschko for a complete Heavyweight Unification Fight at some point in 2015. You don’t want to miss this fight!