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Welcome to the Dark Age of Boxing
By Aaron Imholte (June 10, 2004) 
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Well fans, Saturday night ushered in a new era in boxing. The mask was torn off and if there was any doubt left as to who and what ran our beloved sport, we got our an$wer. The story of the overachieving underdog may become a thing of the past; the stories of heart, blood, sweat, tears and determination finally paying off for some down and outer may come even less often then they do now. Instead it will be the story of the established but fading legend who wandered around the ring in a trance like state, performing at one of the lowest levels of his illustrious career while coming in flabby and seemingly sleepwalking around the ring for 12 rounds, knowing full well he will just have to last the distance to get the win, because what is at stake is a multi-million dollar pay-per-view blockbuster extravaganza and nobody on the inside is going to rock the boat. You know, a month ago you may have been saying that's just a conspiracy theory and that I am paranoid. But now it is becoming more and more evident that the best fighter does not always win, but the most marketable fighter. Just ask Felix Sturm and Oscar De La Hoya.

Saturday I watched De La Hoya get outworked by a bigger, younger fighter with an excellent jab, and still win the fight! Do you want to know what the worst part is? I never expected him to lose. Even though I had him losing on my scorecard at home, I knew there was no way he would be called the loser that night for one reason: to line his pockets and the pockets of every greedy promoter and manager around him. It is that kind of helplessness, hopelessness, and disappointment that made me believe that this truly is a crossroads type of event for our sport.

After Fight Video: 
Watch and hear what every fighter had to say after their Fights.  Hopkins, De La Hoya, Sturm and Allen all speak and tell you their thoughts.
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The dark age has been in the making for a few years now and has just hit it's lowest point. There needs to be a cleanup. There needs to be a commissioner, there needs to be some organization. (I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but it is true!) Or we will all become disenchanted with the most physically demanding and most entertaining sport in the world.

Or will we? Is that why we still see so much blatant corruption and underhandedness in boxing? Are we, the fans, partly to blame for the poor condition of this sport? After all, we are the ones still paying $50 for a megafight Saturday night, only to complain time and time again about who got robbed or who is in whose pocket and how corrupt boxing really is. Why do we still watch? Why do we not just leave it and make them fix their problems before they go bankrupt?

I'll tell you why. The same reason I can't turn it off. I love it too much. Just like I love the Vikings, Timberwolves, Twins, and Wild, I love boxing. We don't want to turn it off even though we know if the public stops supporting boxing they may lose enough money to clean up the sport and make it fair and no longer corrupt. We are hoping that somehow it will be saved and we can will it on its way to a better future. Forgive me for being so steamed about this, but I am more concerned about my sport now than I have ever been before.

I keep hearing my non-boxing fan friends ask "Why do you like boxing? It's a dead sport, it isn't entertaining anymore, there is nobody left but the old guys." It pains me to hear this because they are partly right, and a lot of other people in America feel that way about boxing. Take this into consideration: why did boxing spike in popularity in the late 80's? Because some young up-and-coming wrecking ball was tearing through the flagship division like a starving pitbull. It wasn't because Larry Holmes came back after losing his title to defeat some young upstart knockout artist. That is why when I see new blood like Sturm pull off what seems to be a stunning upset over a legend, only to be screwed by boxing's money machine, I can only wonder 'what if?' What if this guy gets a shot? Can he peak our interest by beating the legendary Oscar De La Hoya and maybe giving Bernard Hopkins a run for his money? It worked in Rocky, and that's what boxing needs, something like a Rocky. Not in terms of a white hope, don't get me wrong, but a fresh blue collar working class face people can relate to and get behind. Now look at what you have. A mess, nobody is giving De La Hoya a chance and his performance against Sturm may have actually hurt a chance at it being billed a pay-per-view extravaganza. Some are questioning whether the fight will be on at all.

I want boxing to right itself, I really do. But I fear that we may have seen the dark age hit really hard this time and it is going to take something revolutionary to get it back again. Until that day comes, keep your heads up and your fingers crossed fight fans, our new dawn will come... hopefully.
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