What ever happened to the heavyweight boxing division over the last 10 years?
This Saturday evening the biggest fight of the year will take place in Las Vegas between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, the two best light-welterweights in boxing. Light Welterweights! Since when has the boxing world been so revved-up about any fight other than a heavyweight bout? Sure we have had some amazing fights over the past few years. How can we forget De la Hoya vs. Mayweather or Hatton vs. Mayweather? But it's just not the same as Ali vs. Foreman, Frazier vs. Ali, Tyson vs. Lewis or even Lewis vs. Klitschko which was a more recent fight.
The money has increased but the pre-fight spectacle, the glamour, the poetry and the stories behind the fighters as well as the venues is gone. No longer do we see the world stop to watch the heavyweight clash of two men mountains in their prime take eachother on in the open air of continental Africa or in the jungles of Manilla. Every big fight is now either in the MGM grand in Las Vegas or in Madison Square Garden, New York. On top of that, almost all big fights are pay per view making them unnaccesible to the general public. Most significant however is the fact that nowadays the fighters just aren't nearly as interesting as they used to be. The money involved has caused the PR machine to choke any genuine characters to reveal themselves.
Although I wasn't born yet when Ali's ruled the world the charm of the heavyweight division was clearly evident. They were loud but not foul mouthed, they had a team behind them but their actions weren't ruled by that team and they had more personable, exciting styles of boxing. Also, in my oppinion, any of the past greats, be it Frazier, Foreman, Liston or Holmes would easily hold their own if not dominate the current heavyweight division.
Nonetheless I look forward to seeing the Pacquiao Hatton fight. It should be an interesting contest seeing both are attacking, forward boxing fighters and so there is potential for fireworks. If I had to make a prediction I would have to go with Pacquiao's speed. I would love to see Ricky win it but unless he can draw Manny into a close quarters street brawl I can't see him connecting with Pacquiao's body or head for that matter. It could turn into a repeat of his fight with Mayweather Jr. Speed and accuracy are lethal.
Let's get ready to Rumbllllllllllllllllleeeee!!!!!