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In Sports Commentary

Should President Obama step in and reshape the sport of boxing? Dave Begel thinks so.

Boxing needs a total overhaul


It's been a rough, rough week for President Barack Obama. What he's done during his first two years -- and he's done a lot -- was loudly repudiated by a collection of whacko Tea Party people, crazed Sarah Palin fans and well-meaning intelligent Republicans, although the last group seems to be a minority.

He needs something to bring his popularity back. And I've got the idea.

This president is famous for creating commissions and task forces. He's created commissions on Wall Street regulations, green jobs, small business deregulation, health care reform and on and on. Since he falls back on commission creation to help him out, it's time for another one.

He should create the Commission to Restore Boxing to Prominence.

Some people might think I'm kidding here, but I'm not. This is serious business.

I love boxing. I've always loved boxing. When I was young my dad used to take me to various rings around the city to watch fights. I even saw Sugar Ray Robinson fight in Milwaukee when I was seven or eight years old.

I've covered some great fights. Thomas Hearns against Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard against Roberto Duran. I saw Marvin Hagler fight.

But if you ask me now who the champion is in any division, I couldn't tell you. I know the names of Pacquiao and Mayweather, but that's about it. And I'm sad about it. Boxing used to be, and still is, a beautiful sport, the essence of manhood. Macho, yes, but macho in a good way.

But the sport has been absolutely ruined by money and promoters. There are seemingly dozens of sanctioning bodies and championship belts. It seems like there is a new weight class every four and one-half pounds. Nobody can make sense of boxing.

So, let's ask our president to create a commission to run boxing worldwide. Kind of like a NATO of Knockouts. We can leave prize money where it is and have big Pay Per View events. But let's have one championship in each weight class. If you are the heavyweight champion of the world, you are the heavyweight champion of the world. When they call you champ, you are the Champ.

There are other steps that should also be considered.

Right now there are 17 weight classes. Let's cut that to 12 or 13. Establish the Boxing Channel on cable television. You could do live fights and show some of the classic old fights that are absolutely priceless to watch.

Every fight has to be sanctioned by the new commission and we're not going to have fighters with four fights under their belt going against someone who has 30 fights. We should change the judging so that we have some ringside judges and some judges sitting a little further back. All the cards will be added to determine the winner.

Rankings will be publicly formulated and announced weekly. You'd get good press, like the college football and basketball rankings. You can have a formula with votes from fighters, trainers and the press. This is critical to the success of the sport.

I know people are concerned about what's going on in Washington. There are obviously deep divisions in this country and nobody seems willing or anxious to cooperate. But I think this is one idea that would appeal to John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann and Nancy Pelosi.

So kick it up, Barack. You obviously need something we can all get behind and repairing one of the greatest sports we've ever had could really do it.

Talkbacks

Broner | Nov. 9, 2010 at 6:29 p.m. (report)

In reality, this is a really, really dumb idea. However, I think it would be a good idea for Obama to create the Commission to Restore Boxing to Prominence because virtually everything he did for his first two years in office caused a Republican avalanche last week. This would only further ensure that he doesn't get re-elected in 2012.

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mkebrewrgal | Nov. 9, 2010 at 12:30 p.m. (report)

Boxing has been sanitized that's for sure; but haven't all sports? Plus the big factor with boxing is that there are only a few fights every year. That may not appeal to the 'gotta have it now' culture. I mean, I understand the injury factor, but that's the whole point of it: box smart or get hurt. MMA has never appealed to me despite the fact that Bruce Lee helped get it started (officially/unofficially). I've tried to like it, but unless you're like Bruce Lee fuhggedaboutit.

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Omnibot | Nov. 9, 2010 at 11:06 a.m. (report)

They already fixed it. It's called MMA. It's exciting to watch, people get ko'd and there are far less lifelong injuries from taking repeated blows to the head.

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speakthetruth | Nov. 9, 2010 at 7:30 a.m. (report)

Merryweather? You're clearly a "big" fan, Begel.

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