Whether you’re an avid sports fan or not, if we were to ask you to list off some of the most popular sporting activities worldwide, it would probably look like this: football, cricket, hockey, tennis, volleyball, table tennis, basketball, and baseball. The most popular sport worldwide is football, which has captured the hearts of 3.5 billion followers and was closely followed by boxing until several years ago, which has since suffered a decline.
Although boxing, horse racing, and baseball are still deep-rooted within the hearts of many sporting fans and remain thriving businesses, none of the three has the same status they did during the start of the 20th century. There are many reasons for this decline in popularity, one of the most significant being that fans feel the sport has become an easy way for famous figures and athletes of other sports to get more money and popularity.
Although boxing is far from dead, several aspects lead to its slow but sure decline. So, what are some of the leading causes for boxing’s decline in popularity among sports fans? Below we discuss some of the reasons why sweet science is become less relevant – continue reading to find out more.
Boxing Is Not What It Used To Be
One of the main reasons boxing is losing popularity in the eyes of some fans is because the sport is not what it used to be back in the early 20th century when boxing was at the height of its popularity. Instead of being the spectator sport, it used to be in the ’60s, ‘70s, and ’80s, with exciting rivalries, knockouts, tantalising fights, to and fro, momentum shifts, and much action – today’s top matches aren’t even between boxers.
This is unsurprising as most well-known boxers do not fight each other anymore, either due to wanting to protect their belt, preserve their chance of landing a bigger fight, or simply flat-out refusing to fight. Instead, boxing fans are often reduced to watching famous figures or athletes of other sports go head-to-head. Unlike the ‘60s and ‘70s, when fans would watch legends like Muhammed Ali, George Foreman, and Joe Frazier battle it out, today’s generation of boxers are much more afraid to go head-to-head.
One of the most notorious boxers for doing this is Floyd Mayweather, who is just as renowned for picking and choosing his fights as he is for his gambling habits. As one of the best in the world, boasting 43-0, Mayweather can afford to do as he pleases without so much a comment from anyone else. However, his selectivity has become almost unbearable to most boxing fans, making many fans refuse to watch the sport.
Lack Of Rivalries
One of the most significant reasons sporting fans watches football, boxing, and any other sport is the entertainment value. First and foremost, boxing is a spectator sport; fans will not continue to tune in to watch when it ceases to be entertaining. One of the most significant entertainment values in boxing is the rivalries, as they bring out the competition between athletes andcreate the foundation of some of the biggest, most-watched, most-anticipated matches for fans.
Rivalries benefit the sports industry as they increase fan loyalty; who could forget some of the rivalries between Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier or Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta? Plus, rivalries make the upcoming match more tangible. They have led to fans placing considerable wagers against their favourite athletes using brick-and-mortar and online casinos, which makes the action even more exciting for many sports lovers.
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The Move To Pay-Per-View
Like most sports, it was no surprise to boxing fans when it was revealed that the sport would be switching to pay-per-view. In many ways, moving to pay-per-view has boasted many benefits for the boxing community. Yet, in other ways, it has also damaged the already dwindling reputation of the sport.
One of the most significant benefits of moving to pay-per-view is the amount of money that has been filtered into the sport and that it allows fans worldwide to access the match whenever and wherever they want. However, despite this, there will always be a portion of fans unwilling to support pay-per-view, which is one of the reasons why football is still so popular today as it is available to the masses.
Despite the cost being one of the main reasons why pay-per-view has hurt boxing’s reputation, some of the other reasons why pay-per-views have hurt boxing are because fans are unsure about what they’re buying. It divides an already shrinking fanbase and many more.
Lack Of Competition
Unlike the early 20th century, when boxing was in its prime, there was a list of boxers that could contend for a world title – meaning that it was always full of competition. Back in the ‘90s, all fighters with an untarnished track record could get a shot at a world title match, which is what made it so exciting for fans back in the day. Promotors would put two pieces of competition into the ring and allowed them to battle it out until one was left standing as the victor.
Back in the day, underdogs would have the chance to go up against established champions like Mike Tyson and deliver remarkable results. Underdog victories would rock the world of boxing fans and show fans how competitive the sweet sport could be and that style or technique is just as important as the big names. The boxing world nowadays has much less competition as big names are much more reluctant to fight, meaning that boxing is becoming less relevant among sports fans.