Two Sports on Life Support

Earlier this week, I wrote about the proposed “Super League” in European soccer and how it was not being received well in some parts of the European “football community”.  This morning I got an email from good friend, a woman who has lived in Scotland for the past 20-25 years and who has become a soccer – football to her – fan there.  The title of her email is:

  • Death of the Super League

I mentioned in my writing that two of the four overseers of the proposed Super League were Americans who owned bits of European clubs.  My friend refers to them as American bankers and billionaires and she says that they grossly miscalculated the negative reactions of fans in Europe and specifically the negative reactions of the fans of the 14 clubs in the EPL that have not been “invited” into the “Super League”.  Whenever there is widespread agreement among the populace on any issue, you can be sure that politicians will rush to align themselves with that widespread agreement.  My correspondent says that the Ministry of Sport would be looking into a “windfall tax” and “other penalties” for clubs that might be part of the proposed “Super League”.

She believes that the “Super League” is dead in the water and that few if any of the fans will mourn its passing.  As I said at the end of my comments last Monday:

“This is a most complex issue; it is likely to go on for a while before it is resolved one way or the other.”

I have a sense that there will be more rumblings and grumblings about the “Super League” down the line.  Stay tuned; the story is probably not over just yet…

Moving on …  the ”Super League” is not in the best of health this morning but I think there is a sport that is in worse shape – – Boxing.  As I have mentioned here several times, back in the 1950s when baseball was the national pastime, the biggest other sports were:

  • Horse racing
  • Boxing

Today, boxing is just about dead.  Finding meaningful and/or riveting fights on the boxing calendar is difficult; if there are one or two a year, that is a banner year for boxing these days.  That situation is bad enough for a sport that is in decline but as they say on the late-night infomercials, “Wait … there’s more!”

Too much of boxing has left the realm of “important sporting event” and has wandered off into “concocted circus event”.  Just to be clear, that is not a good place to be.  The latest big time “boxing event” involved Jake Paul – identified not as a boxing champion but as a “social media celebrity” – knocking out an MMA fighter.  It was a non-boxer beating another non-boxer in a boxing match that drew millions of dollars’ worth of attention.  If that were a one-off occurrence, it would not be so bad, but that match was Jake Paul’s second big fight; in the first one he knocked out Nate Robinson – – not a boxer but a former player in the NBA.

  • [Aside:  This is analogous to Joe Flabeetz – someone you have never heard of – beating a former athlete like William the Refrigerator Perry in an event that is totally unrelated to Perry’s former sport – – say the 100-meter dash.  It does not prove much of anything and it should not be something that focuses attention on itself.]

Once again … there’s more.  Other nominal boxing events that have drawn lots of attention recently are staged events where it is the aura of the participants that draws attention and not the skills of the participants.  Consider:

  • Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor:  A world champion boxer fought a guy who had never been in a boxing match in his life.  I am surprised that it was not arranged for the winner here to face 65-year-old Hulk Hogan in a Steel Cage Texas Chain Saw Death Match.
  • Mike Tyson/Roy Jones, Jr.:  At least, both of these guys were boxing champions – a long time ago.  Both were in their 50s and had been out of “real boxing” for about a decade when this fight took place late last  year.  The result of this fight was a “split draw”.  Moreover, on the undercard for this circus event was the Jake Paul/Nate Robinson “battle”.
  • Evander Holyfield/Kevin McBride:  They will fight on pay-per-view on June 5th.  Holyfield is 58 years old; McBride is 47; Holyfield last fought a real match in 2011; McBride has been out of action for almost 10 years, and he lost 6 of his last 7 “real matches”.  This will be an 8-round bout with two-minute rounds a testament to the fact that these are “boxing geezers”.

These circus events draw lots of attention and real boxing matches do not; if that is not a signal that boxing is moribund at best, I do not know what would have to happen to put boxing into that category.  I hope no none will be surprised when the winner of the Holyfield/McBride encounter challenges Mike Tyson to another circus event.  If Holyfield is the winner, they better get the fight set quickly lest the folks who sanction such “sporting events” around the country are put in the position of certifying a 60-year-old man as fit to be a professional boxer.

Finally, let me close today with a comment related to parks and arenas selling their naming rights.  This comment is from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald from a couple weeks ago:

Corporate names in South Florida keep getting worse: First it was the home of the Heat becoming FTX Arena. Bad. Then it was Marlins Park becoming loanDepot park. Worse. Now Inter Miami announces its home in Fort Lauderdale is now AutoNation’s DRV PNK Stadium. Oh if only I were kidding.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



One thought on “Two Sports on Life Support”

  1. What are the chances that any stadium, arena, or nearby parking lot will soon be named Sports Curmudgeon Central?

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