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Boxing and The UFC

Read the results of the Carlos Baldomir title defense against Arturo Gatti on ESPN.com. Baldomir won via TKO in the 9th. The Baldomir camp more or less called out Floyd Mayweather for a fight on November 4th, and Gatti is now saying that after tonight’s performance he may be contemplating retirement.

Regardless, the only reason I even care is because Gatti was involved in the only boxing fights (the ones he had with Mickey Ward) that I’ve really liked in the past few years, which is what made Gatti into a star – he was just an entertaining fighter to watch. To such an extent that the only other names I could give you off the top of my head in all of boxing (regardless of weight class) are Mayweather and Rahman. I’d never even heard of Baldomir before this thread, and he’s the Welterweight champ.

What I want to talk about though is the real story here – that the UFC seems to be taking over the spot boxing’s held in the United States. Hell, ESPN even broke into regular programming for Dana White’s announcement of a fight on the upcoming August 5th card the other day. Boxing journalists are caving in and starting to cover the UFC, citing that its popularity and buyrates are undeniable and to not cover it would be denying the obvious and/or inevitable. Even ESPN radio’s Cowherd, who used to be one of the biggest blowhards criticizing the UFC (while using inaccurate arguments against the sport as many were at the time) has conceded. It’s a growing sport that acquired a larger fanbase (that had already been growing through the course of the past five years) through good promotion, a competitive reality show, and a good TV deal. HOWEVER, that doesn’t change the fact that comparisons are inevitably made between the two sports, and the competition seems to be heating up. There are many within the boxing industry complaining that the UFC is cutting into its share of the market, but to be honest, the majority of new UFC fans weren’t watching much boxing before and the die-hards who have been around for years never cared as much for boxing in the first place.

And yes, there is a reason I’m going on this tangent, and it relates to the previous mention of Baldomir (who ESPN is making the case for being the fighter of the year so far) calling out Mayweather (who I think it’s safe to say is the most recognizable active name in boxing) for a fight on November 4th. At their last show, the UFC announced a a long-anticipated Light-Heavyweight Championship bout between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei de Silva. Guess when it’s scheduled to take place? Yep, November. I’m REALLY interested see the mainstream media coverage of both fights in the Fall, because if the UFC gets more (as I think it should), boxing’s in serious trouble.

And when’s the last time you heard anything from Don King? Looks like all those years of him more or less putting a stranglehold and gaining control of the industry really paid off, huh? Especially in the heavyweight division. (That was sarcasm)

More later…

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