Big fights. We know that. Pacquiao vs Mayweather, if and when it happens, might be the biggest purse ever in a boxing match. Big fights and big names bring boxing to the mainstream crowd. True, the mainstream crowd won’t get it on Network channels, it’ll have to be HBO, but the money’s there. The PPV isn’t the problem.
But big fights like this potential welterweight clash between the most popular boxer in the world, despite, or maybe because he’s not American and the undefeated Mayweather are short term fixes (a dangerous word when it involves boxing). There aren’t that many opportunities like and names out there to keep a consistent interest in the sport.
The Heavyweight Divison
The legendary fighters, the names everyone remembers, especially non-boxing fans, are of great heavyweights. Dempsey, Joe Louis, Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson. Big men, plus talent, plus incredible power, with great stories and intruiging personalities = Big stars. We’d settle for a big mouth instead of the robotic Klitschko brothers. Well, David Haye, at least he has a big mouth. Not enough talent to back it up, though. A great new heavyweight fighter, preferably American, a real character, will generate huge interest in the sport.
The Divisions – Too Damn Many of Them
There you have it. From Strawweight (mini-flyweight in the chart) to Heavyweight. Why do we need 17 divisions? We don’t. There’s no need to jump up a division every 3 pounds. There’s no need to have 68 different title belts. We’ll never get to unify the different governing bodies (different story and problem), but why not have 10-13 weight classes? Maybe even cancel strawweight and make Flyweight the lightest division.
Maybe 10 pounds between each weight and later on 15 (once we reach Super Middleweight), and maybe even create a Super Heavyweight division – for those big, awkward, and not so fun to watch fighters. We won’t get see fighters moving up 7-8 weight divisions in such a short time. It’s nice for the record books, but when you get down to the bottom of the matter, it’s kind of a joke.
One Title Belt per Weight Class?
Not a great idea in my mind. I think the idea would backfire and create title hogs – fighters who’ll win it won’t want to give up the belt so quickly, or even risk it. In a perfect boxing world, these guys would be punished, but we don’t live in that kind of world. For now, we got 4 per division, and there’s opportunity, supply and demand for title fights. There are the problems of promoters and TV Networks that push for certain fights, but unless one governing body is created and all the boxers vacate their titles and quit, going over to the new force, I don’t see it happening.
Rankings, Public Rankings
Like in Tennis , like in College Sports. A group of ex fighters, trainers, writers and whatever get to pick the top 10 or top 20, it doesn’t really matter, in each division. Will help the fans understand what’s going on a whole of a lot better. Rankings, top 10 debates, maybe even a monthly Pound 4 Pound ranking system, just to get fans more involved. No more manipulations in organizations
Match Making, Big Fights and Tournaments
This is pretty much a continuation of the rankings. Creating big fights, with the big names. One way is tournaments, like the Super Six World Boxing Classic. Not perfect – The Super Middleweight is good and fun, but doesn’t have the biggest draws in the sport. Having the thing go on Showtime instead of HBO probably hurt as well. Still, I don’t think it’s hurt the careers of those who are in the final – Carl Froch and Andre Ward.
A ranking system, to go with certain rules and guidelines should create big fights – You can’t enter the top 10 until you beat a top 10 fighter. Once you’re in the top 10, you have to fight at least once a year against another top 10 fighter. When you’re champion? Two top 10 fights a year. We don’t want champs fighting nobodies and “promising” up and comers. We want proven fighters going at each other. Not against washed up guys looking for another chance to make some money.
Three fights a year. Each fighter should fight at least three times a year. The top guys hardly fight twice a year nowadays. If fans are to get back into the sport, they need relevant fighters to root for, not someone who stays in the news through tweets and altercations with the law.