Boxing Not Dead, Promoter Says

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Boxing Not Dead, Promoter Says

In 1938 more people came together and put the radio on to listen to the Joe Louis – Max Schmeling fight than had ever tuned in to any broadcast in history.  Less people had listened to the world’s greatest politicians.  The moment illustrates the cultural influence that boxing had come to hold over the world.  Such an influence differs drastically today, as sports have become increasingly divided, multiple, fractured and specific.  Gone is the lasting impression and cultural dominance of boxing: indeed, as many have suggested, “boxing is dead.”
Boxing Promoter Nick Garone says that’s nonsense.
In fact, he goes so far as to accuse similar ring-based sports, such as Mixed Martial Arts, for fostering the false opinion in the first place.  This isn’t to say that boxing’s infrastructure couldn’t use some work. Just that, contrary to the opinion of many, the sport isn’t on the ropes.
"Boxing is not dead, nor is it dying," Garone said. "If you think about it logically, the only people that are starting that rumour are MMA people. How can an Olympic sport with gyms in every major city in the world and hundreds of thousands of participants around the world, all of a sudden disappear?  It isn't happening, but we as boxing people do have to do a better job in marketing ourselves and stop fighting between ourselves, because it's not going to help our cause."
The former Syracuse University athlete, who was an alternate competitor on the 1992 US Olympics Wrestling team—runs X-Cel Worldwide, a promotion company that runs shows in the area of down-state New York and Niagara Falls. Garone’s most recent event drew over 2000 fans to see Hasim Rahman stop Shannon Miller in a bout that competed with a live airing of Andre Ward’s super middleweight title defence against Allan Green on Showtime.
"Competition is good. Coke and Pepsi, McDonald's and Burger King, etc. It has actually helped us in the boxing industry because it has given us a chance to see that we can blow this thing and lose market share if we don't start handling things differently.  The networks should also step up and support the industry as well, because that's how we can build tomorrow's stars.”
Despite Garone’s optimism, it is unarguable that boxing ratings have gone down over the years.  Garone himself was first to admit it: "When I was younger, the networks showed Cuba vs. USA and we had USA's Tuesday Night Fights and FOX Sports, too. These outlets have dried up, but I still believe we can get it back if we get the right television executive to support the mission."
There have been many reasons cited for loss of ratings.  With the proliferation of other sports, culture itself is changing, and with it the collective attitude towards sports.  Whereas boxing was yesterday considered a completely legitimate game, many refuse to support it today after some well-known cases of tragic deaths relating to fights in the ring.
Also a question about the quality of fighters today continues to plague analysts, who say, for instance, the heavyweight division hasn’t been what it once was for years.  Quality is determined by new talent, as well as current calibre of fighters.  More fighters today are fighting longer than at peak periods in other sports, or at least failing to earn fans’ attention for doing it.
Garone hopes that his high-end promotional client—ex heavyweight title challenger Michael Grant, who faces former champion Tomasz Adamek in August—will inspire growth.  Grant is 46-3.  One of his losses came to Lennox Lewis in April 2000.



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