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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pacquiao- Hatton and Others Make Boxing Still a Big Draw

New York has bred many champions over countless decades. They will only continue to feed more and more into the sweet science in the years to come. Each and every boxer that still thrives to get to the top of the top is part of a grand depiction of restoration for boxing.

Upon retirement Joe Calzaghe stated that boxing is dead. This isn’t the first time I’ve quoted the Welshman on this, and it probably won’t be the last either. Even though it was a very ‘half empty’ point of view, I respect his strong, but some-what misled, opinion on the condition of the sport that paved way for his fame and fortune. But respecting doesn’t mean agreeing. So at this juncture, we will agree to disagree.

But is rescue on the way? I feel confident in saying that it has already started to make an entry. It’s not full swing but the potential for revival is, indeed, here.

With it comes a nice, strong current that has shifted momentum in favor of the sport and it even has the quasi-retired Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in line asking for another piece of the pie (and boy is the pie good). This economy has spared few and word on the street [Wall and Main] is that dearth will present itself before rehabilitation.

This year we see Oscar de la Hoya saying his goodbyes; Hatton wanting more money; and at the rate of Pacquiao’s success, the political seat that he failed to acquire in his first attempt seems just about guaranteed to this national hero. And we haven’t even mentioned the new, improved Shane Mosley or call-me-small-no-more Juan Manuel Marquez.

Have you noticed yet that the lineup above is filled with hall of fame inductees? There is no doubt that the Mosley, Marquez, Pacquiao bandwagons will continue to roll in the goods until their wheels fall off, respectively, but let me ring off a couple more names for you.

Andre Berto, Juan Urango, Victor Ortiz, Mike Alvarado, Yuriorkis Gamboa, The Peterson brothers: Lamont and Anthony, Edwin Valero, and Amir Khan. These are a few of the popular faces that are in the process of laying claim to territory that their elders are migrating, aka retiring, out of. They are closest to the action and are on deck, so-to-speak. And these are only prospects from and around the 135, 140 pound divisions. So let me reiterate to you that salvation is looming for boxing as a whole. Get my drift?

Dig even deeper into the harvest and you’ll find that the crop only gets younger and younger which is a great sign that the boxing dream is still heavy in the eyes of many infantile careers.

William Shamar Whitt, 20, is a commended amateur southpaw from Brooklyn, New York, born and raised. He is set to make his professional debut at The Masonic Temple late spring, early summer. His previous scheduled debut was hindered by a hand injury. Whitt currently trains out of the world renowned Gleason’s Gym, also in NY, under the guidance of defensive-minded Hector Roca.

Standing at 5’10”, he is a monster at 140 pounds. He’s a natural right-hander that utilizes the southpaw stance and after a successful amateur career, William is preparing to make his first splash on the professional scene.

Despite audience and profit droughts amidst the national economic crisis, William has taken his daily reverie and transformed it into a developing reality. Seeing troubled waters first hand was his venue, Sunset Boxing Club (Ardon Sweet Science Gym), which was forced to close it doors in 2007. At that time Whitt was pressed to evaluate whether his goals were able to bend and cope with the changing times. If it couldn’t, that meant his dreams of fighting in Madison Square Garden goes out the window with it as well.

Under the leadership of Hector Roca--who has trained champions such as Buddy McGirt, Arturo Gatti, and Iran Barkley-- William aims to be a budging factor sooner rather than later. But at the end of the day, he is just one of many amateurs who are ‘graduating’ to the big leagues this year. Battling US Olympians such as Gary Russell, Jr. and Sadam Ali, also a native to New York, he has a lot of respect to gain and the road ahead is long, wavy, and can sometimes be uninviting. Roca, who can also be credited for transforming Hilary Swank into the ‘Million Dollar Baby”, is familiar with the ever-shifting boxing lime light. Having an experienced trainer in his corner will be one of the more beneficial measures for William Shamar Whitt.

Many have asserted that boxing’s gradual downfall is in tune with the steady up-rise in popularity for mixed martial arts. Personally, I think that these two sports compliment each other more than they counter. After covering numerous boxing/MMA events, I can say that my deduction has been validated. This year we’ve already seen a couple shows that pit these two combat styles in the same venue and we’ll only start to see more as the months go by.

Saving a dying sport is nearly impossible. Reviving a dead one is way beyond it. Luckily for us boxing is still a draw; our favorite past time is en route to fight another day. The only time we should really worry is when ‘dream matches’ cease to draw shivers. And with Pacquiao-Hatton just days away, that worry still lives in a land far, far away.


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