Paul Beston does a long piece on the history of boxing in America and suggests that the sport has become a sideshow. The one who could possibly rescue the sport is, unfortunately, not an American but Filipino.

Tyson’s behavior sullied boxing’s always precarious reputation, making the sport synonymous with freakishness. He would be the last in a long line of heavyweights to bear a symbolic connection to American social trends. For just as the blustery John L. Sullivan represented a growing nation coming into its strength, and the magnetic Dempsey the birth of mass-media celebrity and commercial culture, and the stoic Louis the hard years of depression and war, and the mercurial Ali the age of rebellion and change, so Tyson embodied the postmodern hoodlum—the gangsta from an urban landscape pulverized by fatherlessness and anomie. Remarkably, a middle-aged Tyson is now trying to remake his life, a feat that, given the obstacles, would outstrip anything that his illustrious predecessors achieved, in the ring or out.

But about Pacquiao, he writes:

Pacquiao is the kind of figure who could restore boxing to its former glory, if such a thing were possible. Boxing devotees yearn for him to participate in a “super fight” like those in which Sugar Ray Leonard fought in the 1980s. The opponent for such a battle is standing in plain sight: Floyd Mayweather, Jr., a brilliant defensive boxer who has never lost.

For the moment, Mayweather Jr is busy blocking head butts.


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