In 1936 in a politically charged heavy weight boxing match between Max Schmeling, a German Nazi and Joe Louis the American Champion at the time. A match was fought at the back of the WWI and leading to WWII, with the German defeating Louis for what was his first defeat. Schmeling post the match told the German Nation the following “At this moment I have to tell Germany, I have to report to the Führer in particular, that the thoughts of all my countrymen were with me in this fight; that the Führer and his faithful people were thinking of me. This thought gave me the strength to succeed in this fight. It gave me the courage and the endurance to win this victory for Germany’s colours.”
In the return leg of the fight Louis knocked Schmeling out in the first round and sited the following “I knew I had to get Schmeling good. I had my own personal reasons and the whole damned country was depending me.”
“Some time ago one of the southern states adopted a new method of capital punishment. Poison gas supplanted the gallows in America. In its earliest stages, a microphone was placed inside the sealed death chamber so that scientific observers might hear the words of the dying prisoner…. The first victim was a young Native America Black boy. As the pellet dropped into the container, and gas curled upward, through the microphone came these words: “Save me, Joe Louis, Save me, Joe Louis, Save me Joe Louis…”
Where then does the fight between McGregor and Mayweather fit in within boxing history? In a nutshell it doesn’t belong anywhere in boxing history, the boxers or the fight itself will not be remembered, it serves as nothing but a commercial gimmick to enrich the haves. The native black or African Americans have nothing vested in this fight, there will be no one hailing Mayweather as a great hero or fighter as this fight should never happen in a boxing ring.
The boxing Golden Generation sees Cussisus Clay, a handsome charismatic and exciting boxer come into the fray. The cameras and him predicting his wins and countless punch lines gained him many fans. Then he transformed into Mohammed Ali affiliating himself with the Nation of Islam, whilst refusing to serve in Vietnam left him out in the cold because of his ban, whilst he was considered a hero by many because of his acts.
During his ban from boxing Joe Frazier came into the Fray becoming the heavy weight champion in Ali absence. On Ali return to boxing, he only had one thing in mind and that was to get his title back. Ali fought Frazier in a fight dubbed the fight of the century with Frazier knocking Ali out in the final round of that fight. The walked in George Foreman, the final member of the boxings historic trio, who came in to face Frazier and defeated in what many termed an upset making him the world heavy weight champion. This victory lead to the most famous fight in boxing history which was dubbed the rumble in the jungle where Ali defeated foreman by tiring him out and knocking him in a fight staged in Zaire in 1974.
After Ali’s career handed ended this brought the end of boxings golden era despite this boxing would see greats like Suger Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson but however there would never be an era which captured the imagination of the world like the era of Ali, Foreman and Frazier.
Fast forward to the other fight dubbed the fight of the century and also the richest fight in boxing history between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. This fight was considered one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history and despite this fact critics felt the bout itself was a huge anti climax as it failed to live up to hype and expectations due to Mayweathers defensive approach to the fight. It later emerged that Pacman has sustainted an injury during training on his shoulder and had recovered in time for the fight and gotten the same injury during the fourth round of the fight. What’s clear is that this fight brought boxing to it’s knees as it became clear that boxing would never see another golden generation as there were other factors at play when boxers decided when to fight each other. This was a watershed moment in boxing which demonstrated the impact of commercialism in the sport. Quiet simply that fight should have been fought a decade earlier and contractual dispute lead to further delays.
The other fight to mention that destroyed the sport is the fight between Wladimir Klitshcko and Tyson Fury…
Anyways this next fight between Mayweather and McGregor is set to destroy boxing completely as commercialization has completely taken over the sport and once again a fight will be all hyped up and will be fought in the mother of all boxing venues in Las Vegas and will predictably end up as a monumental disappointment and wont live up to any expectations whatsoever. Mayweather will make all his money with training programs before the show, right to the fight and the fight itself wont matter because commercialisation has taken over boxing. In fact we will witness a bigger fight on social media and from the two parties then we will in the ring. Simply put next to the Pacman v Mayweather fight and next to Wrestling, this is the biggest sporting gimmick in the history of sport.
This fight, not withstanding the challenges boxing faces in the public having very little understanding of the complexities of the sport, poses further challenge for boxing. As opposed to football followers there are very few boxing followers who pride themselves on the knowledge of the sport. The sport is often seen as a simplistic and barbaric duel and much like Rugby faces a challenge of getting followers because of a lack of understanding of the sport. Put simply boxing is not the sport of choice to have a conversation over beers with your peers. This fight between Conor and Floyd only serves to further shake the apple cart and upset boxings already fickle support base. I mean where do you start when explaining this fight to a laymen? How do you answer the question of why “the greatest fighter in boxing history” is fighting a non-entity in the sport.
Of further concern is that boxing at present is nowhere near popular as what it uased to be during the times Ali and Tyson and one big factor that has resulted in the sport losing its following is that in part it didn’t have to compete against other sports. With the advent of commercialization in sports boxing has fallen behind as it has short season and fights happen once so often. Boxing has been left fighting for a place alongside the likes of MMA and UFC. It only stands to reason then that by mixing the two sports of boxing and MMA only the MMA stand to gain from that arrangement as it lacks not only the history but the goodwill boxing has to pull audience. This fight will further destroy boxing as a sport whilst individuals involves grow richer.
The biggest factor that poses a huge challenge for boxing the difficulty in defining who is the best, which leads to the questions surrounding the legitimacy of the modern day sport. In boxing there are many governing boards and “alphabetic titles”, these many divisions make it hard to say which fighter is the absolute champion. Further the likes of Mayweather have so much power in the sport that they always win even before they set foot into the ring. In his fights he will decide the location of the fight, the referee, the judges and right down to the size of the boxing gloves. This leaves the opposition fighter with an insurmountable mountain to climb in the fight. The fact that McGregor has zero fights further lends credence to this fact, Mayweather has so much power in the sport that he has decided to fight a fighter outside the actual sport. It’s unprecedented and ridiculous that a fighter can so much power,, he can dub himself the greatest ever and then he can come out of retirement and have his pick in deciding who to fight, then decide to fight someone outside the sport. It is a big fuck you to the boxing community.
In closing this fight is a non-starter and will surely bring about the death of boxing in America. However just as boxing main home was once in England before it moved to America, this situation presents itself as an opportunity to alternative markets in Africa and or Asia to take up the lead in the sport and bring it back to its purest form.
By Mncedi Mabona