I can remember as a young boy nothing was better than watching a good prizefight on television. Boxing back then was a glorious and magical sport to me and to see these larger than life men who possessed character, strength and courage were a sight to behold.
The fact that they had a story of overcoming tough obstacles to beat the odds and weren't afraid to fight the next man was an example of what a real man should be in the world whether he was in boxing or not. Today those rare intangible qualities are far and few between as it's not about character or legacy but is about how much money you can make with minimal effort or how much money you can make without risking your title.
I miss those days of grand honor because boxing today has no soul.
Boxing today is strictly business where the only present advantage that the sport currently has over the days of yesteryear is the internet, live streaming and broadcast technology that allows us to see what transpires behind the scenes. We have up-to-date interviews, live feeds and press conferences where you can see the fighters directly to follow the grimy business of boxing up to the moment.
Just five weeks shy of being an eight year old, the first fight that I ever saw was Muhammed Ali versus Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden. I didn't attend the fight in person but I remember clearly being with my Father who he himself made sure to watch that classic matchup at a local neighborhood establishment.
So for that fight to be my personal introduction to the sweet science the bar of quality expectation in my mind was raised very high from the very beginning..
Not only was it a classic fight it was also the fight of the century.
So everything after that in my young mind had to live up to the standard of that classic Muhammed Ali - Joe Frazier fight with Joe Frazier late in the fight officially knocking Muhammed Ali down.
These were the kind of events where not only big stars would come out but underworld gangsters sitting side by side with popular mainstream celebrities who hardly came out but made sure to be seen by the paparazzi and photo-ops.
While that memorable event was larger-than-life, we know that every battle is not going to have that type of magnificence to captivate the imagination of the masses.
But we were treated to so much more and I'm going to refer to it as I knew it so well back in the magical 1970's.
We had fighters like Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Ernie Shavers, Ron Lyle and Ken Norton who all fought each other fearlessly and without hesitation. There were plenty of B level fighters that would be considered great simply because of the fighting heart that they possessed despite their lack of top notch skills.
I seriously miss the anticipation before the fights.
I miss the buildup.
I missed the long conversations after those unforgettable boxing matches that kept us up into the wee hours of the morning.
That was a wonderful time when fighters weren't afraid to fight each other.
Today fighters for the most part are Prima donnas hold out for the biggest payday and care not for the fans who have supported them throughout their careers.
Today fighters make up excuses to avoid the biggest challenges in their division if they feel there was the possibility that they might lose.
Today fighters will ask for an unreasonable amount of money to fight the biggest threat because they know that there's a huge chance they are going to lose and they want to get a good cash sendoff.
One should understand if you are a fighter that it's inevitable that you lose. You don't want experience a loss but is a big chance of it happening. Indeed losing is a part of the fight game, but too many champions show their cowardice by not even taking the risk of loss to achieve the reward.
In the present day boxing championship belts are out in abundance and I feel that that is the problem. There are so many of these "belts" running around here that it doesn't appear to have any value anymore that it once did.
I feel this is a problem because it's so easy to "get a piece" of a championship belt from an organization that want the sanctioning fees from a well paid fighter so they can call themselves a champion.
This phenomenon has diluted the quality of championship fights and allows a fighter to call himself a champion when under different circumstances he may have only been a top contender.
Here's a quick fix for that problem: Let us go back to the old days of boxing when you had eight weight divisions and you had ONLY ONE CHAMPION in each of those divisions.
If you have one champion in a division, the contenders would have no choice but to fight that champion if they want to wear the crown!
But today with the super champion, junior champion, regular champion and franchise champion sanctioning fees to be paid to these "pimp-like" boxing organizations, very few fighters are undisputed because there's so many championship belts going around.
If there five in the division, there is always that one who can lay claim to being a champion because all the belts are scattered.
So boxing has got to take care of itself by getting back to the eight champion rule.
Now I understand that with technology, nutrition, training techniques and in the growth of the human being, we have heavyweights that are so big that they would have dwarfed the heavyweight division of yesteryear.
On that note I would grant that they can be at least nine or 10 divisions, they have tried to introduce the super heavyweight division but it seems to be something that is still in question, but for that and that alone I would sign off on it.
Back in the 1950's Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano was just under one hundred ninety pounds and standing under six feet tall.
Now put Rocky Marciano in with current heavyweight fighters Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua whose physical dimensions wouldn't leave him even a minuscule chance to win.
So on that note we know that heavyweights are bigger, but the junior champions and super champions - as in Junior welterweight and super welterweight - have to be banished bringing back the eight champion only rule in boxing.
Bring it back to what it used to be we had one champion in each division then you will see who wants to be a fighter or not!
You will see the arenas getting packed if there were only eight world champions as well as the pay-per-view numbers going up because there will be no political manipulation involved.
It's either fight the one champion, retire or just remain a timid contender for the rest of your career.
I do believe that both eras and boxing can blend and meld somewhat utilizing the best elements of each but it's going to take some effort to do so.
The exploitation, the greed, the lack of heart that some fighters possess among other negative mysterious backroom "under the table" elements must be banished for our great sport to thrive over and above all other sports. It will take time and sacrifice but if we the fans ban together to make our voices heard, we can make a difference because ultimately it is we who hold the ultimate power in our hands called the mighty dollar!
Then true legacies will be built and the fighting spirit and moral character that we spend our hard earned money to see will shine through. It's a win/win situation for us all!