This past weekend, many fight fans tuned in on one of the most anticipated boxing matches of 2008. Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao, considered pound-for-pound the best boxer in the world, took on Mexican-American boxer/promoter Oscar De La Hoya (The Golden Boy). After De La Hoya’s disappointing performance, many began to question whether boxing was still alive. Could this be the sign of a boxing downfall and a rise in mixed martial arts (MMA)?
HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg was asked where boxing stood now that mixed martial arts was growing at such a rapid pace. He quickly responded:
“If it’s the end of Oscar De La Hoya, it’s the beginning of the superstardom of Manny Pacquiao…In my eyes it’s just the passing of the baton, like when Marciano beat Louis and Holmes beat Ali…MMA doesn’t affect the popularity of boxing. They are two entirely different sports. It would be like saying basketball affects the popularity of baseball.” However, fight fans may argue with Greenburg’s statement because boxing and MMA can actually be compared as two combat sports and not as two separate sports.
President of the UFC Dana White has stated in the past that boxing productions have slowly killed the sport throughout the years. After Saturday night’s main event, Dana White added a few more negative comments on boxing and explained why he felt MMA was much stronger nowadays:
“When I got here in Las Vegas, there had to be 15 boxing gyms. Now there are two. We own one and Bob Arum owns the other…Did you see the production? And that was HBO. Maybe they should give
us some of their Emmys. The pacing was awful. There was no energy in
the crowd. They had to loop Pacquiao’s music when he came out because
he had to walk so far…I love boxing as a sport and I came from boxing, but this was a bad day for boxing…(Floyd) Mayweather’s probably running out of money and will probably
return to face Pacquiao, and I’d pick Mayweather in that one, but
nobody is going to draw like De La Hoya does."