Has Boxing Lost Me?
By Dave Wilcox
“Boxing is dead”
It’s an old and tired cliché that I’m tired of hearing, but
to be honest, that very thought continues to run through my
pea brain on a consistent basis. If you ask Manny Pacquiao’s
or Floyd Mayweather’s accountants, Boxing is certainly not
dead by any stretch of the imagination.
For me however, the sport of Boxing doesn’t carry the same
weight it once did. I have been a fanatical fan of the sweet
science since the tender age of eight years old. I marveled
at the big screen as Rocky Balboa had his two bouts with
Apollo Creed. As I grew older and my attention switched to
the real warriors of the ring, I watched my heroes on the
television screen every weekend on ABC, CBS and NBC. I could
hardly wait each month for my copies of The Ring, Boxing
Illustrated and KO Magazine to come in so I could spend all
day Saturday reading them cover to cover. I would look at
the sports page in my local newspaper daily for updates on
my favorite champions. (Yes, newspapers used to cover
Boxing) It was a glorious life for a Boxing fan.
As I became an adult, I went to live fights, watched HBO
bouts and started pay for the big fights on TVKO pay per
view shows and alike. I was young and the best match-ups
were still being made. In fact, most champions insisted that
the fights be made, so what the heck did I care if a small
fee was involved?
Once in my thirties, I decided that I wanted to get involved
in the sport in some way and remembered that I got an “A” in
creative writing back in high school and thought to myself,
“Maybe I’ll try and write about my beloved sport”. So I
decided to contact a Boxing website to see if I could give
writing a shot. The site was Boxingscene.com and one the
site’s editors at the time, Keith Terceira gave me my first
opportunity to write about Boxing. Soon after, I was on the
staff at Boxingscene.com and they were sending me to Vegas
to cover fights. I was in press conferences, having beers at
the bar with historic figures of the sport and it was an
Not too long after that, Terceira sent one of my articles to
a gentleman that did a daily Boxing radio show. The show was
“Talking Boxing with Billy C.” and Bill Calogero was the
host. Bill seemed to like my article and asked me if I
wanted to come on the show as a guest. I thought Calogero
was crazy at the time because I had no experience on air and
I was only pretending to be a Boxing writer. (And still
perfecting the art of pretending) The “Talkin Boxing with
Billy C.” show is worldwide and Calogero had the idea to
have correspondents in all parts of the United States and
beyond to bring different perspectives to his show. I’m only
guessing, but I think he might have liked the idea that I
was in Southern California, which is a hot bed for Boxing
action and he figured what the hell, if the dude is a moron,
he is one and done.
I am in fact a moron, but Bill and I hit it off well and our
banter back and forth seemed to entertain the listeners.
Immediately following my first appearance, I became the West
Coast Correspondent for the show.
What a blast it was! I started setting up interviews and had
the opportunity to speak on the phone with the likes of Ray
Mancini, Mike Weaver and Gerry Cooney, amongst many more.
After some time passed, it became surreal. My family was
excited for me because they all had to deal with my abnormal
obsession with Boxing through the years and for them to be
able to watch as I covered championship fights and listen to
me on a National Radio show was exciting for all of us.
Then came June of 2011 when I was finally able to make my
maiden voyage to Canastota, New York for The International
Boxing Hall of Fame. I had heard for years about the
experience from many boxing friends. One friend in
particular was Erik Killin who lives in Northern California
and runs his very own website for diehard Boxing fans. The
site is called BoxingBB.com. For at least the three previous
years I spoke about going to the Hall of Fame, but life and
responsibility always seemed to get in my way. Erik would
almost take it as a personal insult because he so badly
wanted not only me to experience it, but he wanted all of
his Boxing friends to experience the Hall.
Once I heard that Sylvester Stallone was being inducted,
that was my springboard to finally get the ball rolling. To
the dismay of many of my friends, I am a Rocky Balboa freak
and one of the few that embraced his induction as a
contributor to the sport of Boxing.
My beautiful wife, Deborah also has dealt with my unhealthy
love of Boxing and Rocky for over twenty years and once she
got wind of Stallone being inducted and that my friends were
trying to get me there, she took matters into her own hands
and basically made me go. She did all the flight
arrangements and planning for me and would not let me back
out this time. As usual I was doing something at the last
minute and needed a place to stay.
Once again, my friends came to bat for me. Radio man, Bill
Calogero, who was gathering the staff of the Billy C. radio
show in Canastota for the HOF graciously had a room for me
the first night as we planned our show activities.
From there, Erik Killin and his wife, Jessica not only let
me stay with them the rest of the weekend, but Jessica
worked as our designated driver every night. Oh, by the way,
Jessica was pregnant at the time. This proves a couple
things. Not only are boxing people the greatest in the
world, but apparently their wives are pretty darn good as
The four days I spent in Canastota were beyond explanation.
I mingled daily at the local hangout, Graziano’s Restaurant
and Bar with current and former fighters, trainers and
Boxing personalities. No entourages, no police escorts but
only them, me and Coors Light. I met my hero Marvin Hagler,
I spoke to Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor like we were long lost
buddies. Brian Mitchell insisted on buying me a drink after
a long conversation and I insisted on buying Leon Spinks
about twenty. I exchanged bad jokes and stories with Bert
Sugar and felt for one short weekend that I was part of the
Boxing community. The trip was once in a lifetime experience
and I strongly encourage all fight fans that haven’t made
the pilgrimage to do so this year.
Not too long after the trip, I was starting to get a distant
feeling about Boxing. The constant Pacquiao and Mayweather
talk was growing tiresome and I just found myself not caring
as much as I used to.
Maybe after seeing my heroes in Canastota, I was bound to
have a letdown. Boxing seems to make it very difficult to
follow the sport. I’m not a big fan of watching fights on my
tiny computer screen and I find it harder and harder to
justify paying for the Pay Per-View that are shoved down our
throats on a consistent basis.
There is no newspaper coverage of anything except Pacquiao
and even that is minor. There are weekly columns in my local
paper that cover “This week’s action”, but guess what, it’s
all MMA coverage.
I was at a family party not too long ago and there were
about fifteen kids ranging in age from twelve to eighteen. I
asked them all the same question, “Do you follow Boxing?”
The vote was unanimous, not one of them followed Boxing or
knew anyone in the sport outside of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd
Mayweather. To add to my pain that night, they all explained
how they followed MMA and could tell everything and everyone
involved in that sport now.
I have been called an old geezer who just can’t get out of
the past and you know what, I’m starting to agree. I would
much rather watch my old VHS tapes of classics bouts instead
of trying to find a Mexican station at 12:30 am on a Friday
morning and watch two bantamweights that I’ve never heard
of, or pay someone ten bucks to watch a horrific card from
Philadelphia on my computer screen.
I’m a lifelong Boxing fan and I’m sure I’ll eventually get
out of my rut and get back on the Boxing horse, but for now
the sport has tired me out and I needed a break.
Boxing has already become a niche sport as it is and I’m
very concerned where the next generation of fans will be
coming from. There seems to be more old-goats like me that
can’t let go of the past than there are kids following the
I guess for now, it’s off to the VHS storage box in the
mancave to find my old Camacho-Rosario fight so I can be in
love with Boxing again.
To answer the initial question of “Has Boxing lost me?”
Probably not, I think Boxing has just misplaced me for a
Until we meet again my friends, or least until Pacquiao and
Mayweather meet for the first time.