May 01, 2011

Requiem for boxing: the decline of the Sweet Science: And the MMA fights themselves feel like fast food sometimes extraordinarily good fast good compared with what boxing at its best can produce, a three-hour, three-star meal. They feel like a tweet (though sometimes, a great, clever, provocative tweet), not a sonnet, and certainly not an epic, a really catchy jingle, not a fully realized popular song. There's no arguing with the marketplace. Fifty-five thousand people can't be wrong. There's no turning back the clock. And there's no point in trying to explain what's missing, because what's missing has already been, and is already gone.

posted by rumple to boxing at 02:13 AM - 7 comments

Nothing can top an epic boxing match (like the third Ali-Frazier bout, mentioned in the article, or the Rumble in the Jungle, or even the first Ward-Gatti brawl), but too many of them are very LONG, drawn out affairs that don't provide any excitement.

posted by grum@work at 08:30 AM on May 01, 2011

And while a few fights are classics, many MMA bouts are short, badly mismatched farces rooted to their conclusion by thousands upon thousands of illiterate Hinder fans garbed in sequined knock-off Affliction long-sleeve tees.

I'll take boxing.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:33 PM on May 01, 2011

Off on a tangent, but every time I hear the phrase "sweet science", it reminds me of this.

Rhymes beautifully with "kitchen appliance".

posted by owlhouse at 09:37 PM on May 01, 2011

I love MMA, let me just say that from the start.

However, I love boxing too. In fact given the two, I'd rather choose boxing.

I was a huge fan of PRIDE. I also love MMA groups who either don't allow ground stuff, or like PRIDE did, fine the fighters if they're not interesting enough.

I find MMA agonizing to watch at time. A brawl is fun to watch. I will never grow tired of watching Lesnar beat the shit out of Mir at UFC 100. (I hate that cocky shit.) But I find a lot of the championships bouts interminable. 5 5 minute rounds, and in my experience it almost ALWAYS goes to the scorecard. I mean I know the ground game. (I've been watching UFC off and on since the very first one.) And that can be entertaining, but dear god there's some shitty fights on PPV with alarming regularity.

Of course Boxing COULD be the number one, but thanks to the likes of Don King etc... It's been ruined by corruption, the alphabet titles, the constant greed on PPV etc...

To be quite frank, American MMA is starting to bore the shit out of me. UFC is very much the WWE in as much as they're killing off their real competition. Sure there's a bunch of Mickey Mouse MMA groups, but so many of the potential challengers to UFC are dead and gone in some fashion now.

Of course the way the business is run is much closer to how Vince McMahon operates than how boxing is promoted.

Despite watching MMA for many years, and being a big fan of some fighters, nothing, NOTHING has ever come close to the visceral passion and excitement I felt for a good fight. This for example.

Plus I doubt MMA is going to lend itself to a huge number of fascinating and wonderful books over the years, nor documentaries, films etc...

Boxing just seems more noble. I know that sounds nuts, but there you go.

posted by Drood at 09:18 PM on May 02, 2011

That was a fabulous piece. Stephen Brunt has long been my favorite local sportswriter. A wonderful reminder of the power boxing had, and the great narratives that drove it. I would be surprised if it came back. It, more than other sports that I can remember in my lifetime, seems to now be a part of another place.

I love MMA, though. I liked boxing, but it was never a sport I could ever imagine myself doing. I did take martial arts, and it always seemed to me to be a way to use skill and technique to even up the odds in a fight, while boxing was more of a strict test of will and power. It's not that black and white I've since realized, but that general impression remains. So I find MMA to be more of a test of skill sets, match-ups and strategies. Perhaps not "better" than boxing's tests, but ones I am just more attracted to, I guess.

Plus, I think it's more impressive to see great MMA fighters who can carry belts for a long time given the sports tendency to be unpredictable. Anyone can beat anyone else - a lucky punch, a slip, any kind of whim of fate can affect the next second. Added to it the fact that in any given fight you could face a grappler, kickboxer, wrestler, etc. and have an entirely different skill set - hell until recently a completely different sport - be set against you. To be able to consistently win in that kind of environment is pretty sick.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:55 PM on May 02, 2011

Drood, bad example of a good fight. A draw. Maybe you meant the first one.

posted by gfinsf at 08:03 AM on May 03, 2011

Bollocks. Yes. I meant the first one. Whoops:)

Even at a draw it's still a good fight.

Secondly, I notice as UFC is getting more and more popular, we're starting to see the number of dodgy judging incidences increase.

posted by Drood at 04:42 PM on May 04, 2011

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