Over the last few years, it would be fair to say that boxing had literally gone into hiding. This is the result of two things: the rise of other sports such as MMA and the lack of big names materializing in boxing.
There has admittedly been a small handful of world-class and truly great boxers over the past few years, such as Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao, but it doesn’t extend to many more than them.
It seems that the new generations of fighting fans are now far more interested MMA, whilst the older guys amongst us are traditionalists and prefer boxing. If we are honest about the reasoning behind the popularity of the newer fighting sports, it is simply because they are better, more exciting and technically more difficult.
When attempting to compare the two sports it is always a good idea to look at the negatives of both of them first off. Fans of boxing will always claim that MMA is a barbaric sport, whilst on the flip-side, MMA fans will claim that assumption is made simply through a lack of knowledge about the sport and rules.
Many do not know, for instance, that in much the same way as boxing, low blows, gouging and other dirty types of moves are forbidden. In fact, the two sports are similar in many ways; both allow punches to the face with the only difference being that MMA throws wrestling moves into the mix. So in reality, if MMA is barbaric, then boxing certainly is too.
Another hypocritical claim made by boxing fans is that the promotion for the fights is over the top with all of the pre-fight trash-talking that occurs between fighters. In fact, many put it in the same bracket as what you would see on WWF, acting for the sake of promotion.
However, boxers have been doing the same ever since its inception. Two fighters in any sport will trash talk; a certain Muhammad Ali was the king in that regard. Do they all do it to sell their fight to their public? Possibly, but in most cases it is about the ego of the two fighters clashing.
I am often told by boxing fans that they think some MMA fights are purely staged much like in the WWF too; however my quick response to those questions is to ask whether they have any proof to back that accusation up and whilst they are at it do they have any proof to suggest that boxing is not staged? There is no answer and the argument goes absolutely nowhere, MMA like boxing is not staged and is a full contact sport that is taken very seriously by its fighters.
The positives relate to one thing, MMA is the natural evolution of boxing. In much the same way that the cheese pizza was improved by the addition of pepperoni, boxing was improved by the addition of new ingredients.
In fact, MMA is so much more technically demanding, there are more moves to master, more to avoid, whilst MMA includes so much more strategy. You are not only looking for a weakness in speed, strength or stamina from your opponent; you are also looking to see if they are weaker on the floor than on their feet, whether your opponent is more susceptible to a certain fighting style or not.
In summary, MMA has taken boxing to the next level both in entertainment and in terms of the skill and technique required to be the best at it. It also appeals to fans as it is cheaper to watch, has more fighters to follow and many more classic fights.
For that reason, I can only see the popularity of MMA rising, whilst who knows how boxing will fare in the next 10-20 years.