Boxing set for regional comeback

By Travis Brown
STAR STAFF
tbrown@starhq.com

   The sport of boxing has received very little attention in the Tri-Cities region, namely because promoters are reluctant to schedule fights due to lack of interest.
   Boxing, though, will be making a comeback to the area as a few local establishments have recently agreed to host some championship boxing in the near future.
   I for one would love to see some middleweight and lightweight boxing action somewhere within 30 miles of our area, and would be more than happy to pay a few dollars to see it.
   Boxing in our area would not have the high profile names such as a Vegas card would draw, but I like it that way. Money in any sport brings with it corruption, and our area could only afford a boxing match. We could not furnish the corruption.
   The more fights that I watch I have become convinced that the undercard bouts and low level contenders are really trying to make it big. Meanwhile, the ones at the top of their respected divisions are no longer interested in winning fights -- their top concern is huge paydays.
   Over the past couple of weeks I have watched a good deal of boxing on TV and have started learning as much as possible about the "sweet science."
   I have always been a boxing fan but until recently I have never been so intimately interested. However, the more that I get into the sport, the more upset I become with the high profile heavyweight bouts.
   Anymore a hard-nosed set of cruserweights or middleweights can put on a much more impressive display than a couple of polished heavyweight fighters. I enjoy the heavyweight division as well, but it seems to me that the big boys are the least fun to watch.
   The knockout power that a heavyweight possesses is much like the home run in baseball. Those who know the game well do not appreciate a home run as much as a beautiful bunt single or a well placed curveball with a 3-2 count.
   True lovers of the sport would much rather see handspeed and great angle work, along with knockout power... instead of just one-punch ability.
   Just like baseball has its problems and is staring out onto thin ice with its recent tribulation, I believe the sport of boxing is at a crossroads as well.
   With the heavyweight division weaker than it has been in my lifetime, the essence of the sport is not appealing to consumers. Lennox Lewis is the zenith of the heavyweight class, his skills in conjunction with his power makes him a tough opponent.
   However, Lewis is not fun to watch. The sport of boxing needs a flashy heavyweight champion. From a fan's standpoint I like to see Lennox climb into the ring. However, from a commercial standpoint, he is not a big draw.
   Mike Tyson's boxing ability is severely diminished and he is becoming a less dangerous contender. However, he can draw a big crowd because he is unpredictable.
   I only wish that boxing could be viewed for its technical aspects, instead of the glitter and the money that the sport offers up.
   This is because the good crop of young fighters that are currently coming up through the ranks, are scientifically solid and fun to watch. Let's hope they win some titles before boxing loses face.