Volume 93, Issue x

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


SPORTS

Mustangs run wild over Gryphons

Western ruggers kick Guelph's tail

Men's soccer team edge Gryphons in tight match

Women's soccer team ties Guelph

Boxing fans left in the cold for corporate cash

Boxing fans left in the cold for corporate cash



If a fight takes place in Las Vegas and no paying customers are there to see it, does it really matter?

Three nights ago the supposed "fight of the millennium" took place. Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya fought a tough 12 round decision, with the underdog, Trinidad, barely escaping with the win.

Normally, this would be seen as a victory in the world of boxing. Two undefeated boxers went the distance in a fight predominantly void of controversy, lousy judging or ear biting.

Both Trinidad and De La Hoya fought a classy boxing match, aside from the odd cheap shot. After De La Hoya dominated the early going, Trinidad rallied late to outpoint the "Golden Boy" on the judges' scorecards. The GQ cover model, De La Hoya, had been vanquished by Trinidad, a relative unknown to the mainstream media.

All in all, a great story which should set up an exciting rematch. However, away from the ring, in the stands, the boxing world once again managed to make a mockery of itself.

One of the main purposes of a live sporting event is to attract the general public to buy tickets and attend. Apparently this general rule of the sporting world has been forgotten by the gods of the boxing world.

For this premier showcase of boxing skill, absolutely no seats were made available to the general public. Instead, seats were sold (or more likely given) to celebrities, famous athletes, the rich, the famous and admittedly, the press. Not a single person in attendance had obtained their ticket from a box office or ticket booth.

The only way a member of the unwashed masses could catch a glimpse of the spectacle was at a bar, or other establishment, or through the wonders of pay-per-view television. Yes, for only $49.95 plus tax, you could enjoy three hours of hype and horseshit before seeing the actual fight in the comfort of your own home.

Of course, if you didn't have the money to get the pay-per-view showing you were completely out of luck.

Apparently boxing has found it's target audience - those with tons of cash who are more interested in being seen at the latest celebrity shindig, than actually enjoying a sporting event for the ages.

Boxing has become the rich country club of the sports world. Only those who blow their noses with $50 bills are admitted. But only in the crazy world of boxing would this be permitted.

Imagine if the Toronto Blue Jays suddenly gave away all their tickets to celebrities and rich businessmen. The outcry which would result from this segregation of sports fans would be tremendous.

But, sadly, most fans have already given up on the bruised world of pugilism. They've seen one too many ears bitten off and victorious boxers ripped off. They've heard Don King say "absolutely fantabulous match of the century" one too many times. The once proud sport has become a laughing stock and this might be the final nail in the coffin.

By denying the average fan the chance to see their heroes up close, the sport will soon eat itself alive. Without the fan base provided by the burger-eating, beer-drinking, blood-loving average boxing fan, the sport will collapse under the cannibalism of the celebrity culture it now depends on.


To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1999