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Under the Big Top
By Jason Petock (May 13, 2004) 
Reflecting back on such great programming in television history as Celebrity Boxing, Toughman, and the short-lived Thunderbox, I am once again waiting in quiet desperation to see Tonya Harding take on the imitation Adam Corolla (Doug Stanhoe) on the Man Show. Not really though. Once again networks have to use the premise of boxing to get ratings, and sadly it works. Even more of an eye-opener is the immediate fact that any of the aforementioned events get automatically linked to boxing, called boxing, and worst of all remembered as boxing.

There’s nothing wrong with making a living of course. Everyone has to do it. The big issue here though really comes down to how they go about things. Now before you question my aim, look through the sights for a second. What do you see? A reluctant and unimposing target? I think not.

Ever think of how many destitute and forgotten ex-Champions and contenders there are out there today, as you read this, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, if that? Like trial horses led out to pasture many forget these warriors’ efforts. They’re all but forgotten, lost even. What does this have to do with these parodies being passed off as boxing? Everything.

It shows that someone would rather shell out some money for a cheap thrill, some ratings, and publicity, instead of using that same money to clothe, feed or enable down-and-out fighters. Sure it’s not the networks responsibility to do this, but then whose is it? Don’t see the correlation yet? Think about it some, you will.

Sure pugilists choose their living like most of us in this life. Some do it for the fame and glory. Some do it for the cash and women. And some just do it because it is buried deep in their hearts like an undying flame, burning brighter than the brightest star in the heavens, and because they know no other way. Whatever the reason, it is very disheartening to see boxing (even though these events are clearly not boxing in any way, shape or form), dragged down into the mud and so directly linked to these productions, when there are great Champions both past and present, who deserve much more respect than that. Boxing in general deserves more than that.

Still not convinced? Look at it this way. How many times do you see clowns playing football, or baseball, or basketball? Or how many times do you see them appearing to or attempting to play these sports on television? Never. Slamball gets more respect than boxing does these days, see the problem?

And do you want to know why you’ll never see such mockeries of other professional sports? The answer is quite simple. It’s because there is no one to defend the sport of boxing with the same power and influence needed that is used and applied regularly in all of the other sports. We have great advocates who voice their opinions constantly, but without a strong figurehead all of our cries go unheard like whispers in a forest. We need to start looking after our own, and it begins with putting an end to psuedo-boxing side shows and 3 ring bouts.

The world is entitled to being entertained. Its part of our lasting history and all people need it to some degree.

Would it be too much to ask that we’re not entertained by a consistent falsity and misrepresentation of boxing? Marriages, death, life in general and dating have all recently turned into humiliating affairs on television. Let’s not let them do the same thing to boxing. It’s not too late to step from under the big top and into the light.
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