Don’t cry for the old guys: Boxing’s changing of the guard
By Aaron Imholte (June 14, 2005) 
Photo ©Mr.Will/
Did you see it? Did you see it on May 14? Did you see it on June 4? How about this past Saturday, do you know what you have been witnessing for the last month? Hopefully you do realize it because rarely do we get to see history unfolding before our eyes.

I’m speaking of course about the changing of the guard boxing is undergoing, the kids are spanking the old champions and paving the way for a new, exciting breath of fresh air and a chance to right whatever wrongs their predecessors made. On May 14 we saw Winky Wright dispose of Felix Trinidad for what could have been the last time. On June 4 the surprisingly strong Ricky Hatton ripped the torch from the grasp of Kostya Tszyu in impressive fashion in Manchester. Now this Saturday, Miguel Cotto continued his impressive climb toward the aforementioned Hatton, and Mike Tyson has released boxing from the embarrassing clutches of his tyranny and madness he has captivated us with since the mid 90’s.

I cannot believe that even the most ardent fight fan is not appreciating this and instead mourning its becoming. Sure we should remember Tszyu and Tyson in their good years, we should remember how Felix Trinidad ruled the welterweight division with rockets for fists, but now it is time to usher in the new caretakers of boxing. Guys like Hatton, Cotto, Kassim Ouma, Samuel Peter, Diego Corrales, Jeff Lacy and Zab Judah among many others. You see my friends, boxing is not dead, it is simply cleansing itself of the old and weary, and grabbing some new, fresh faces in the process.

When you renovate your house, it is really ugly when you tear off the old siding and toss it all over your yard, it’s messy, and does not look like it will amount to much. But when it is finished, that house looks better than it did just a few short years ago. Boxing is right now in the process of tearing down the new siding and merely applying a new, improved, and younger brand to the game.

Now I will warn you that the process is not quite finished yet. If Floyd Mayweather defeats Arturo Gatti in roughly 10 days, another large part of our house will be temporarily torn down; same goes for Bernard Hopkins if he cannot find a way to get past the young and exciting Jermian Taylor. But no matter what happens, fight fans, the sport will not die on you, it will not go away, if anything we could end up in an even more exciting world of pugilism than we ever could have imagined at this time today. It won’t happen overnight, so be patient.

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