Tale of the Tape

Last night was the pay-per-view telecast of UFC 74. Ever since the De La HoyaMayweather fight earlier this year, the sporting world has been enveloped in a debate about whether or not boxing was on it’s way out and Mixed Martial Arts, more specifically, UFC was the next big thing. There is only one thing to do in a case like this. Lets go to the Tape!

~Tale of the Tape~

Price:
Boxing: De La HoyaMayweather = $54.95
UFC: #74 = $39.99

Edge: UFC. In a fairly straightforward battle UFC has the advantage here.

Round Length:
Boxing: 3 Minutes
UFC: 5 Minutes

Edge: Boxing. This generation in America has a very short attention span. So I am going to give the shorter rounds the advantage.
Ring:
Boxing: The squared circle. Mythical. Historic. Old School.
UFC: The Octagon. Exotic. Plus it is surrounded by a chain link fence.

Edge: UFC. The Octagon is pretty bad ass.

Bloodsport:
Boxing: Occasionally someone will get their face bloodied. However, the refs never seem to let it get that far.
UFC: If you don’t see someone bloodied, you didn’t get your moneys worth. Knockouts a plenty! Double Knockouts.
Plus this clip is just downright exciting.

Edge: UFC. If you are a fight fan, deep down you want to see someone get fucked up.

Boring Stuff:
Boxing: When the punches aren’t flying, the two boxers are just bouncing around the ring looking at each other. And that’s kinda gay.
UFC: When the punches aren’t flying the two fighters are usually holding each other on the ground or holding each other against the cage. And that’s kinda gay.

Edge: There are no winners here.

Background:
Boxing: It’s origins date back to bare-knuckle fighting in the 1800’s. Along with horse racing, boxing was the biggest sport of the early 20th Century. Past generations go from Dempsey to Marciano to Ali etc…
UFC: It’s origins date back to bar fights mixed with high school wrestling. Famous names of the past include Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.

Edge: Boxing in a landslide. History has big role in sports. Just look at the most popular teams and rivalries.

Current Names:
Boxing: Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather
UFC: Randy Couture, Iceman Lidell, Rampage Jackson, Mirko Cro Cop, Gabriel Gonzaga

Edge: Even. This is a tough category. Mainstream wise boxing has the edge. But the three biggest names in boxing are all on their way out.

Heavyweight Division:
Boxing: Current Champion – That Russian Guy. What’s his name. Then there’s that other guy. Aw hell, I have no clue. But I know there are four of them. (For those of you saying why didn’t you just look them up, you obviously missed the point. WBA: Rusian Chagaev. IBF: Wladimir Klitschko. WBC: Oleg Maskaev. WBO: Sultan Ibragimov)
UFC: Randy Couture

Edge: UFC in a landslide. Any sort of organized fighting lives and dies by the Heavyweight Division. UFC gains points for only having one champion and having that champion being one of biggest names in the sport. The Heavyweight Division in boxing hasn’t mattered in about four years. That shouldn’t happen.

Announcers:

Boxing: Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, Emanuel Steward, Harold Lederman, Max Kellerman
UFC: Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan

Edge: Boxing. Kellerman may be a bit smug at times. But the amount of unintentional comedy that comes out of HBO Boxing events is fantastic. And these guys do know what they are talking about sometimes. I just can’t take Joe Rogan seriously.

Reality Television:
Boxing: The Contender
UFC: The Ultimate Fighter

Edge: UFC. Ok I admit. I am basing the next few statement on absolutely nothing at all. Yes The Contender was on network television, and I admit I loved the first season. But it featured Sylvester Stalone and Sugar Ray. The Ultimate Fighter is on Spike TV, has a cult following, the sixth season is about to start (with the seventh already planned for the spring), the first season saw Couture and Lidell as the coaches.

Famous Referee:
Boxing: Mills Lane. Famous for being the ref for the “Bite Match”
UFC: Big John McCarthy (“The Ninth Wall of the Octagon”). Famous for his delivery of the trademark phrase “Let’s Get It On.”

Edge: UFC. Big John Stud is cool. And being a member of the LAPD is way cooler and demands a lot more respect than being a judge on TV.

What Does the Future Hold:
Boxing: Unless they can get some big fights and develop some outstanding American born talent, the Future is looking bleak.
UFC: After UFC 74, SportsCenter showed video highlights of the match. They never did that for boxing.

Edge: UFC.

In this twelve round battle, even Harold Lederman would score the fight, 115-111 in favor the UFC.

The world of Boxing in rich in history, but that is exactly what they will become unless they step it up soon. I see two quick solutions.
1) Unify all the belts so that there is only one champion in each weight class (This is a long shot)
2) Pit the best boxers against the bets UFC fighters to see who comes out on top. It could be like when the Jetsons met the Flintstones or the GoBots met the Rocklords. Mayweather said that the thought about it, maybe he should do it for the sake of his sport. (This is also a long shot)

Lets just hope that one day we don’t need to show our kids archival footage to our kids to explain to them why the television is making a big deal about Mohammad Ali dying.

The Kings of Yore

Looking at the Sports Lineup this past Saturday, one couldn’t help but be excited. Regular season baseball, playoff hockey, playoff basketball, The Kentucky Derby, and De La Hoya/Mayweather. Now I know not everybody was excited about every event on Saturday, but you have to admit, the lineup is definitely tantalizing.

For the last week boxing has regained the spotlight. The fight was built as the one that was going to save the sport. It won’t. By this time next week boxing will once again be an afterthought.

Flashback to 80 years ago. First weekend in May 1927. The Yankee’s most potent lineup ever, Murders’ Row is tearing up the field at old Yankee Stadium. The New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers are also playing in the area, and their fans are equally, if not more passionate, than the Yankee fans of the time. There is no NBA, it’s the first season of the NHL (well first year that it is THE hockey league, no one cared much…kind of like now), the NFL is in it’s infant stages (no one will care until 1958), the Kentucky Derby is set to go off, and if there was a huge mega-fight it would be in the Garden, right in the heart of the city. And what would have been getting the most attention? Horse Racing and Boxing.

Back during the Golden Age of Sports, Horse Racing and Boxing came first in the public’s eye. Heavyweight Champions were like royalty. Horses became legends. But somewhere between then and now things changed.

Between 1930 & 1946, six horses won the Triple Crown. Not to mention there was a horse named Seabiscuit running around in 1937. During the same time period the heavyweight division was being dominated by the names Tunney, Schmeling, Baer, Braddock, and Lewis. Back then TV was still a dream, but legends were still being made. Kids and parents alike would park themselves in front of the radio to get a chance to hear about their heroes. Imaginations ran wild, and it is for that very reason that many of these people (and horses) always seemed larger than life. Newspaper writers wove their words with such precision that these real beings came off as mythical creatures.

With the advent of television these two sports received an added boost. Native Dancer ushered in the televised era of horse racing with perfect timing. He was a grey horse, which allowed for him to be picked out in a crowd. Every time he raced, the Nation tuned in. Unfortunately his only loss ever was in the Kentucky Derby, nevertheless, everyone loved him. At the same time Rocky Marciano was the heavyweight champion and he would retire as the only undefeated Heavyweight Champion, ever.

However, as television was helping to boost the popularity of boxing and horse racing, it was doing the same to other sports. In 1958 “The Greatest Game Ever Played” took place at Yankee Stadium. Oddly enough it was between the New York Football Giants and the Baltimore Colts. This game single-handily launched the NFL into the public conscience. Similarly, college football also benefited greatly from the advent of television. The first ever instant replay was during a college football game on ABC. The announcers had the talk the fans through it so as not to incite riots.

Boxing and horse racing both reached their peak at the same time. In a span of six years in the 1970’s, three horses won the Triple Crown.
1973: Secretariat runs away with the Belmont and becomes the bar which all thoroughbreds of our generation are judged.
1977: Seattle Slew enters the Derby undefeated and sweeps the Triple Crown.
1978: Affirmed has three battles with Alydar in the Triple Crown races and is victorious each time.
This marked the last time a horse won the Triple Crown. Additionally, in 1975 the public had a love affair with Ruffian, arguably the most popular filly of all time. Sadly, she was the Barbaro of her generation. She broke down in a match race against the winner of the Kentucky Derby that year.

Simultaneously boxing had just finished watching all of the epic fights between Ali, Foreman, and Frazier. This was the beginning of the end for the Sports of Kings.

Today no one cares about horse racing, unless the same horse wins the Derby and the Preakness. And even less people care about boxing. Horse Racing has a slight advantage over boxing in that every year people look forward to the Kentucky Derby. From the time that all the gates open at the Derby, there is about a 1 in 400 chance that we will see a Triple Crown Champion in any given year. Boxing, however, has very little to look forward to each year. There is a laundry list of problems in the boxing world:
Alphabet Soup: Immediately after the Ali/Foreman/Frazier era, boxing began to divide. Now we have four different champions in each weight class. It is hard for any one boxer to say that they are the best when three other governing bodies each have their own champion.
Pay-Per-View: The fact that most people can’t see the fight live isn’t good for your sport. It’s the equivalent of the NFL pre-season and some regular season games on regular TV, but the Colts vs. Patriots is on PPV. Unfortunately I paid for the fight this weekend, and that won’t happen again. As of Sunday night you could still see the entire fight on YouTube.
Lost in Translation: The De La Hoya/Mayweather fight was a good fight, but it wasn’t entertaining. It was like watching The Godfather in Italian. You know it’s a good movie, but you can’t truly appreciate it. The average person won’t see the greatness in the fight, which leads into the next topic.
Competition: The UFC and mixed martial arts is uber-popular now because there is a better chance for the fight to be exciting. Audiences like to see people get knocked out. UFC fighters throw caution to the wind in every fight. In a match like De La Hoya/Mayweather the fighters are too smart to be knocked out.
Heavyweight Division: This is probably the most important thing that needs to be fixed. Boxing is only as strong as the heavyweight division. Part of the reason that the heavyweights were so popular in the 1920’s was because they WERE larger than life. There is something inherently better seeing two 6 foot 6 guys duking it out than two middleweights. For the record Mayweather is 5’6″ 150 lbs. Not very intimidating.

Is it impossible to fix boxing? No. Is it improbable? Yes. But I still hope it happens.

As for horse racing, the sport knows it lives and dies with the Triple Crown. When another horse wins it, people will start coming back. Do yourself a favor, one day go to the track and watch a horse race in person. Make sure you get as close to the track as possible. It’s a pretty awesome sight to see.

I’ll leave you with these two facts:
– At top speed, race horses can cover about 54 feet per second
– If I was a boxer, I’d be a heavyweight

The BSC and a Collegiate Collage

You could argue that this is my 52nd post, however, I am going to cite the fact that two of the posts were retro posts thus making this the “Milestone Fiftieth Blog Post.” Thank You, Thank You. No need for applause

I hate Florida. Ask me to explain this and I more than likely can not. But for some reason I hate them. And ever since they won the College Basketball National Championship, I have hated them even more. So of course, what happens, they get a chance to play in the BCS National Championship Game.
In a related tangent: Can someone please explain how the new BCS system better determines the national football championship? They add an extra game, but all it does is add two extra teams into the BCS stratosphere. College football will never have a playoff system because there is so much money tied up in the Bowl system. By money tied up I am referring to the money paid to the conferences by having their teams play in bowl games. So the only effect the news system has is that it allows the BCS to admit both Boise State and Notre Dame without there being too much internal outrage. What is the difference between BCS and non-BCS bowls?
MPC Computers Bowl: Participants get to go to scenic Boise Idaho for a payout of $750,000
BCS Bowls: Participants play in truly scenic locales, in front of enormous national audiences and the payout ranges between $14 and $17 MILLION

Here is another fact the Big Ten, SEC, and Notre Dame also get an additional $6 million from the BCS just for going along with all this chicanery. So even if Notre Dame had sucked it up and gone to the PapaJohns.com Bowl, or even no bowl at all, they still receive $6 Million from the BCS. No comment

What is the solution to all of this. I don’t know. But that is the glory of having a blog, I can still bitch about it. Perhaps the NCAA could have an eight team playoff system based on BCS rankings. But then you would get people complaining about the lengthened season as well as a huge fight as to what sites would host the semi-finals and championship game.

Or there could be a six team playoff system where the top two seeds get a bye.

The first two rounds could rotate among the big four bowls and then the championship game could rotate sites like the Super Bowl does. This would add one more week to the current system. In terms of the money, each of the teams in the BCS Playoff would receive the same amount of money for their conference.
But then again under this format people would complain about coming in seventh and not sixth . But that comes with the territory when you are talking about human decided rankings.
This is from Pat Forde’s most recent column: Rutgers came within a dropped touchdown pass of playing in the Orange Bowl, but instead they have been relegated to playing Kansas State on the NFL Network. Hindsight values the drop at $13 million dollars.
But that’s enough about college football, it’s giving me agita. The college basketball landscape is very attractive this year.
First you have the Springfield Pride’s Women’s Basketball team playing some exciting basketball. I’m not sucking up I swear. I am truly a fan.
Second I can’t remember the last time there were so many different number one teams after the first month of the season. March Madness is shaping up to be fantastic this year. Thank heavens for TV’s in cubicles.
Worst Name Ever. Oklahoma State Guard JamesOn Curry. Seriously. No Joke. That is Rucking Fediculous.
Last collegiate tidbit of the day: Only two more weeks left in my college career. Bah.