Set to take place in Melbourne, Australia's Telstra Dome on Saturday, December 2nd at 1 P.M. Australian time ( North Americans will be able to view the one time Pay Per View event on December 1st at 9 P.M. Eastern ), Superfighter seems intent on borrowing some mixed martial arts concepts. To ElectricArtists' credit they appear to understand the allure that the initial UFC's and current PRIDE Grand Prix elimination style tournaments possess.
And now they're looking to bring that same concept to heavyweight boxing.
Superfighter will feature eight heavyweight fighters competing in shortened bouts in an elimination style tournament. The rules will award effective, busy punchers. And the winner will take home five million dollars.
In essence, ElectricArtists' idea is a good one and should make for an action- packed and drama- filled evening.
Here's the real question, though. Why change a sport with such history?
A simple answer, really. Boxing is in trouble.
Two decades ago, it seemed that everyone was a boxing fan. Not so anymore. Boxing has lost much of its allure; in fact, the sport has been steadily losing its appeal for years. Most reading this article ( extreme sports fans ) may believe that boxing's gradual decline has a lot to do with MMA's resurgence.
To a degree for sure; but that's not the half of it.
Simply put, the judge's scorecards began to smell of corruption.
Take the bout between then undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker back on September 10, 1993. No one can take away the fact that Chavez is one of the greatest boxers of all- time. That being said, he got utterly demolished that night by Whitaker.
Not on the judge's scorecards, though. They scored the match a draw.
Another example was the second bout between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns on June 12, 1989. Earlier in their careers, during their primes, Leonard had come out the better man. By the time this contest took place, both fighters were over the hill to an extent. Still, Hearns wanted redemption for that loss so many years ago.
Again the judges rendered a draw in a bout that most believed Thomas Hearns had won.
These are only two instances of a problem that had become increasingly pervasive, and continues to be to this day. Fact is, anytime people begin to believe that the true winner won't actually get credit for their performance, then a sport is in trouble.
The cost of watching a boxing event.
Second problem, of course, was and is the absolutely dreadful Pay Per View prices for boxing events. Generally, viewers must pay anywhere from 40- 50 dollars per boxing event ( sometimes even more ). That, of course, wouldn't be so bad if boxing didn't always surround their main events with rather mediocre tuneups.
Back in the 70's and early 80's, most boxing matches, even championship bouts, could be seen on regular television or cable.
So boxing naturally lost some of its allure.
In addition to this, MMA is a sport that can end in so many ways at any given time. There is a significant amount of drama attached to it because of this. Like boxing, a fighter can be knocked out with a punch. However, they can also be taken out by an elbow, a kick, or a submission, aspects of fighting that boxing lacks.
Next, similar to MMA, this card will put out several matches worth watching ( another pleasant byproduct of elimination tournaments ). Therefore, when someone pays good money to watch this event, they know that they won't be putting out the money for only one bout. Along with this, the eight athletes that ElectricArtists' recruited for Superfighter are quite impressive. Take a look.
Calvin Brock - IBF number one contender
O'Neill Bell - cruiserweight champion
Chris Byrd - former IBF Champion
Samuel Peter - WBC number one contender
Oliver McCall - former world champion
Jameel McCline - former contender
Juan Carlos Gomez - former WBC Cruiserweight Champion
Tye Fields - undefeated in last 20 fights
Collectively, these fighters boast 282 wins with 212 coming by way of knockout.
In sum, the Superfighter concept alone won't bring boxing's glory days back, nor does it eliminate all of the sport's shortcomings. While boxing was busy falling apart because of all the aforementioned, MMA was taking its place as the fight game of choice, and that won't be changing anytime soon ( the metamorphosis continues to this day ). However, Superfighter is a very exciting idea that could change the face of boxing in a good way.
Perhaps even bring in a whole new set of fans. After all, it does sound worth watching.
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