Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why, Exactly, Does Boxing Exist?

The Shooter Wife does not, you will be shocked to learn, always read the blog. She's not big into sports, and as I go deeper and deeper into Game and away from Spectacle, it kind of gets hard for her to relate. So when I've got something that's of more general interest, like this week's boxing travesty in the Pacquaio fight, we talk about it over the dinner table. She's a good sounding board for how the general public thinks of things.

So as I got into it -- how this is either crooked or stupid, how fantastically easy it is to fix a fight when you've got just a handful of mostly anonymous people, and how there's no real recourse for the wronged party, and how the criminals in question are just going to be rewarded through some rematch payday. And that's when it hit me...

Why does boxing exist?

People who enjoy watching people hit each other have moved on to ultimate fighting, and have been there for a while. New fans to the sport were cut off decades ago, when the sport moved away from being a showcase event on network television to a niche piece on cable to just the addicts on pay per view. Even the Olympics aren't that big of a deal any more, ever since it lost the juice of having Evil Communist Countries to provide people you wanted to see getting the crap beaten out of. And people who really need to watch people they hate beat up... have pro wrestling, which has lost so much of the little-kid shame that used to curtail its public acceptance. Finally, there's the NFL, which satisfies enough of the bloodlust to be the top 10 sports in the US.

So, boxing. I get why it exists for people of a certain age; habits die hard, the lure of one last good fight is right up there with a drug hit in terms of not being able to say no, the desire to entertain a group of friends with your largesse.

But how many times can you go down this path and get ripped off before you, well, just accept that UFC is your new fix, and you don't really need the old?

Users are, of course, going to just keep using. What needs to happen is that the media needs to stop covering fights entirely, cable networks need to just give up their shoes, etc., etc. The ratings can't be that good, and without hype, the dying beast... dies faster.

Oh, and one final point about this. The current state of boxing is a libertarian dream. No national commission. No elected officials. No unions. Pure free-market, as deregulated and toothless as any industry in America, since you can always go to some other location if the local commission won't approve your event.

And the industry has, and has done so for decades, eaten itself alive for short-term goals. If the industry was something of real value, or employed a huge number of people, it'd be in severe need of a bailout, rather than just euthanasia.

Because, well, another word for deregulation is lawlessness. And a free market will become a corrupt monopoly if left untended. And all I'm going to do with these few lines is provoke a knee-jerk response to my doctrinaire viewpoint, so let's bring this back around.

Boxing fans. What's going to make you stop being one?


CMJDad said...

Deregulation equals lawlessness? That's a bit of a stretch even for you.

DMtShooter said...

Somalia: the most free of markets. None of those pesky health inspectors, unions, environmental regulations, gun haters or tax collectors to get in your way or redistribute the income. As deregulated a place as exists on the Earth. Libertarian Disneyland.

CMJDad said...

That's not libertarian, thats total anarchy. Very different. But I must say, as long as the war lords aren't the only ones with guns, it isn't that bad of a place.

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