Commentary: Boxing, down for the count

By RON COLBERT, UPI Sports Managing Editor  |  Oct. 13, 2003 at 6:08 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Honest to goodness, I've been trying to say something nice about boxing, a sport that everybody bad-mouths, but for the life of me, I can't.

Not after the developments I've seen in the past few weeks.

Most recently, we have 40-year-old Evander Holyfield losing to another bloated heavyweight, James Toney, and getting his brains scrambled, which has been occurring with increased regularity.

Anybody and everybody in and out of the sport have suggested that Holyfield retire, but he doesn't seem to be listening. As with a growing majority of athletes, he has stayed one event too long.

In the loss to Toney, reports are that his corner people told Holyfield they were throwing in the towel, but he went out for the 9th round anyway and got pummeled into submission.

Still, I read a headline that says he intends to keep fighting. He will do so as long as people continue to pay these prohibitive prices for ringside tickets and pay-per-view television; then there will be a universe of remorse when somebody knocks his brains out or worse.

"I prefer not to see people I've idolized get hurt," promoter Dan Goossen told the Las Vegas Sun, "and it was sad seeing Evander taking the punishment that James was giving out."

The paper said Holyfield has made in excess of $125 million in his 20-year career, but it looks like somebody has to convince him that he no longer is marketable.

"I'm not going to retire," Holyfield has said, even though his record is an embarrassing 2-4-2 since 1999. "I kept watching him, trying to figure out how I was going to hit him, but by the time I figured it out, he had already hit me."

What more need be said.

Before that debacle, I was dumb enough to put the $49.95 on my cable bill to watch pay-per-view for the rematch between Oscar de le Hoya and Shane Mosley. Boy was that a mistake.

I'm still in shock about the decision, maybe not as much so as Mosley was when the ring announcer said he had won. Of all the bad decisions I've heard and/or seen in my lifetime, this one took the cake.

Days later, even after watching a cable replay and my own tape, I'm still wondering what fight the judges were watching. Even though Mosley finished nicely, it seemed obvious that De la Hoya had built enough of a lead to win the fight unless Mosley knocked him out. To me, it is and was inconceivable that Mosley won a unanimous decision.

The shocked look on Mosley's face said it all, but for this sport, it's business as usual because it's the routine and Ron Colbert the consumer will not buy into this garbage ever again.

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