By Bobby Colla
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are fighting in what some people to believe to be the last great fight in boxing, but many people, like HVCC boxing class instructor Kyle Provenzano, believe the sport is again on the rise.
“This is probably the biggest fight since Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler,” said Provenzano. The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has been the most talked about event in boxing in recent memory, and has drawn the attention of many sports fans and networks over the last few months.
“This fight puts boxing on the front page of the newspaper,” he said.
Pacquiao and Mayweather have been flirting with a match for years and now are both in their late thirties“It’s not the fight it would have been five years ago, when they were both still in their prime, but it is still two of the best fighters in the world,” Provenzano said. “This is still the biggest fight they could put together in boxing,” he added.
“This fight will have average people who do not really watch boxing, will be talking about boxing,” Provenzano said. “And even worldwide this is a huge fight as well, because Manny Pacquiao is a national icon in the Philippines,” he added.
“Given an even setting, I would pick Mayweather, but I do think Pacquiao has a chance to pull an upset, but regardless, I think it will be a really competitive fight,” said Provenzano.
“With this fight on May 2 and NBC showing their first Network television fight in 30 years last month, has jump-started the sport to a new fan base,” he said. Along with NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, and Spike TV have all taken fights and are airing them on Friday and Saturday nights.
“There is more boxing on TV now, than any other time in history,” said Provenzano. The tragedy that was the Ray Macini and Duk Koo Kim fight in 1982 left Kim dying of a subdural hematoma, and boxing no longer aired on public television. Since that time boxing has not been as widely watched, until now that is.
More people are turning into see fights every week than ever before and it can only improve with the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight upcoming. “This fight to go along with the network television fights is huge for the sport. As long as everything is done right, it will bring great attention to the sport,” said Provenzano. “Also, the fights they are showing on TV are all great fights,” Provenzano added.
The sport has almost the amount of buzz in the sports world now as it did during the Muhammed Ali era. The question asked is, how long will this buzz last? The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and the addition of network television fights have it buzzing now, but we do not know what the future holds for the sport.
There is also a question of whether boxing will take a backseat to UFC. “The only thing that UFC has on Boxing is that it is run better,” said Provenzano.
“UFC is one organization with one President Dana White. He tells the fighters who they will fight, when and where they will fight, and how much they will get paid,” Provenzano said. “That gets a lot of good fights put together,” he added
“In boxing there are different promoters, different organizations, and fighters all over the world. It is not just one organization with 200 fighters,” he said. The disorganization of the sport makes it more difficult to get the good fights put together. So, when fights like this one come up it becomes a big deal for the sport
“Here’s another difference, in UFC, their main event guys will make one or two million, and Mayweather and Pacquiao will each bring home 200 million,” said Provenzano. This gives more meaning to the fights for the fighters themselves and may give them more incentive to fight hard.
Provenzano said he believes there is a place for both sports. “MMA is huge for 18 to 30 year old suburban white males. That is the bottom line. Boxing has always been an inner-city sport, and that’s why it does not get the attention nowadays that UFC would get,” said Provenzano
“I have nothing against MMA, but to me boxing has been around for over 100 years, and has stood the test of time, and in reality, MMA has only been around for about 20 years,” said Provenzano.
“I think there is a market for both. I think both can produce huge numbers, and I hope both do,” he added.
The sports have both gained much popularity in the last few months and have shown that they’re here to stay. Provenzano said “A good fight, is a good fight whether it is MMA or boxing, it does not matter.”