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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Media Hype Around Boxing Does The Sport No Good

Floyd Mayweather (left) and Conor McGregor (right) during their Aug. 26 bout that sold 4.8 million pay-per-views.

Floyd Mayweather (left) and Conor McGregor (right) during their Aug. 26 bout that sold 4.8 million pay-per-views.

Boxing is not regressing. In fact, it’s one of the highest paid sports with some crazy viewership.

Floyd Mayweather made $180 million in his fight against Manny Pacquiao and another $100 million in his fight against Conor McGregor; there is no argument to be had—boxing is not declining.

Or, perhaps, we have been blinded by the fluff. The core value of boxing is now teetering while the shallowness of today’s version of the sport keeps it afloat.

So if the money is greater than ever and viewership is sky high, the argument that boxing is in decline has no footing. Boxing, in the past, made stars out of their athletes by making young challengers endearing for the crowds. The bouts were made into spectacles as the young underdog would go against the grizzled veteran and the two would duke it out, ending with a new champion or a reigning and defending one. The favoritism was found in the crowd and not in the judges’ opinions, as it is now. It is due to this tradition of fight promotion that we are drawn to the “hyped up” fights instead of the technical and competitive ones.

The media has long been a defining factor in favoritism, but it is still only an outsider perspective. The media does not impact the physical game in the literal sense. The issue now is that the judges are getting in on it. Dare I say that boxing is rigged? This is not some elated conspiracy or a passing thought, it’s the truth. Don’t believe me? Here are some recent examples.

First, the Pacquiao and Jeff Horn fight. The fight itself was great, but near the seventh round, it was obvious who won the fight. Pacquiao barely had a scratch on him while Horn was beaten bloody. What’s more, Pacquiao landed 148 punches on Horn’s head alone while Horn landed 63. There was no question Pacquiao won with any empirical or visual standard and yet, he lost. Unanimously. Horn was the hometown favorite, as they were fighting in Brisbane, Australia, with a huge gap in success. The boxing officials knew this. They also knew that Pacquiao was on a steady decline due to his age. The best story to come out of this was the hometown hero defeating the legend. And they made it so.

The other example is a fight from a few weeks back between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, two of the greatest boxers post-2000. With both of them amassing crazy fan bases, the boxing world had an issue. If they gave the win to Golovkin, the Alvarez fans would go haywire and vice versa. Instead, they opted to give the match a tie.  The scorecards were 115-113 for Golovkin, 114-114 draw, and 118-100 for Alvarez. The ridiculousness lies in the fact that every major boxing reporter thought the fight was close but still obviously in Golovkin’s favor. The 118-100 scorecard was so atrocious that there were mass calls to get the judge fired. Some people even thought the draw scorecard was too much.

Obvious rigging has really marred the sport, but the icing on the cake is the fights the media hypes up.

There’s irony to be found here that someone writing for the media is criticizing the hype given by the media—but it is the truth. Why did the McGregor and Mayweather fight have exponentially more screen time than the Alvarez and Golovkin fight? The result for the first fight was beyond obvious: someone who has never boxed in their life goes against an undefeated champion. A movable object fights an immovable force. What did everyone think was going to happen? Meanwhile, around the same time, a man whose record was 49-1-1 goes against a man whose record was 37-0. It was a huge fight and, by all standards, was projected to be one of the greatest in recent memory. Yet they were overshadowed by everyone paying attention to the first joke of a fight.

The media has outstayed their welcome this time. I understand the media being a biased stage, but to be misinformed and inducing drama blindly is another story.

Boxing is at a real impasse. They hold immense talent and great fights. However, it’s now perverted by the putrid judging and ridiculously minded media. Boxing needs a new image, a new face—a new system. Rigging has rendered the sport useless and the fights the boxing world hype up are simple cash grabs. They need to shape up and change before UFC takes over.