UFC delivered, Boxing disappointed in 2015
BY HECTOR FRANCO
If you would have told boxing fans on the eve of 2015 that Mayweather-Pacquiao and Cotto-Canelo would take place along with boxing being back on terrestrial television, most fans would have said that 2015 would be the best year the sport has seen in decades. All these events took place in the sport and yet this year has been a somewhat average year. There are no real standouts for fighter of the year, where someone stood out head and toes above the rest. There are some fight of the year candidates, but none of these fights were as good as those from even 2012. Not one of these fights stand out above any other bout and will likely be forgotten about in the near future. For many boxing fans it may have been the first year since 2006 where MMA may have gotten more of their attention. Rousey and McCregor may be the new Couture and Liddell.
While Mayweather-Pacquiao made a record setting amount of money, the event for fans was forgettable. The way the entire event was handled came off lazy. The press conferences, the lack of promotion by HBO and Showtime, the inept undercard and let’s not forget the availability and pricing of the tickets for the event. The fight took place five years too late and it was no longer a sporting event, but a cultural event filled with #fightpacquiao hashtags. To say that these two got lucky that it made so much money is an understatement. The fight, the event did not deliver and may have done more harm than good.
On the other side of the combat sports realm, the two biggest events in MMA occurred in November and December. The first event in November took place in Australia in front of a sold out crowd and headlined by two women. The headlining fight was between former boxing champion Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey. prior to the bout Rousey had graced the cover of Ring magazine to much backlash by boxing fans. After the fight where Holm dominated from the beginning using movement and straight left hand counters and finally finished Rousey off in the second round with a massive head kick, boxing fans rejoiced as if it were a victory for boxing. The fact is 90% of hardcore boxing fans have taken little action and paid little attention to female boxers so to act like Holm was a victory of the sport or get mad at Rousey for being on the cover of Ring Magazine reeked of hypocrisy. The fight between Holm and Rousey blew up on social media and did something that no other boxing PPV did this year and that’s deliver. The event delivered on the main event and had the sports world talking. More importantly, it had the sports world talking positively. Holm likely had the biggest victory of the entire year counting MMA and boxing.
This past December 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada another MMA event took place headlined by Jose Aldo and Connor McGregor. Once again there was an undercard that delivered on action because it included a highly anticipated and ultimately, great middleweight title fight between two fighters in their prime. McGregor–Aldo ended in just 13 seconds, but the shock of the knockout had everyone talking and simply put, it is better to have a short memorable knockout than another casual 12 round decision victory by the A-side. It seems that even with boxing being on more channels and free television it hasn’t made a dent in it’s popularity nor has it seemed to increase the fan base.
Boxing will always be around and have exciting moments with exciting fighters, but the more the sport puts business first over being a sport it will have events that leave fans disappointed. In 2015, MMA delivered when it was on the biggest stage, boxing on the other hand needs it’s fighters to step up to show the world what all us boxing fan’s already know. Boxing when at it’s very best is the most exciting sport in the world, and we need to get back to this sport being a sport first.