by Kelsey McCarson
Noun: The practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.
Don’t be one of those people, because the group-thinkers are killing our sport.
You know who they are. Spend long enough on twitter, a boxing message board, your buddies PPV party, or in the cheap seats at a big fight (where the real fans are sitting), and you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about.
He’s the guy whose favorite fighters are Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson even though he’s only seen clips of a couple of their fights. He disses today’s heavyweight division because he “thinks” the Klitschko brothers are boring. He either believes Manny Pacquiao is the greatest fighter of the era and that Floyd Mayweather is a coward, or he thinks Pacman is roided out of his mind and that Mayweather could whoop Ray Robinson and Ray Leonard on the same night. He hates Bob Arum but couldn’t tell you who he promotes beyond Manny Pacquiao.
Taken separately, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these positions by themselves, so long as they actually are your position and not something you’ve taken on to just be one of the group.
And there’s the problem. Let’s have a look at a couple examples.
Recently, over at a well-known and respected boxing website, one of their talented writers waxed poetic on the infamous “missing American heavyweight.”
Like Bigfoot and ‘Nessy, this hard-to-find but sure-to-exist phenomenon is out there in the world driving people mad. They fixate on it. They must believe it exists. It just has to! And if it doesn’t, well then they refuse to enjoy the division for what it is right now. They’ll just wait until it is what they think it should be.
In actuality, the heavyweight division is in a rarified air these days. The sport has not one, but two dominant, all-time great champions (who happen to be brothers) with a stranglehold on the division that would make Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali proud.
Neither champion, Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko, has lost a bout in almost nine years. NINE YEARS. And these guys aren’t ducking anybody. Heck, if anything, they go out of their way to fight anyone who has even the smallest claim to being a challenger. Case in point, neither could find anyone to fight next who would accept a fight with them (or that they haven’t already handily beaten) ranked higher than 20th in The Boxing Tribune’s heavyweight rankings.
But you never hear about all that, do you? Instead, you hear about how bad the division is and how the Klitsckho brothers really aren’t that great despite the almost limitless data that suggests otherwise. And you read prose dedicated to the long lost American heavyweight…oh where is he?!
Through the late 30s and early 40s, Joe Louis rode his “bum of the month” tour to an all-time record of 25 straight title defenses before he retired the first time. That was enough for Louis to be rightfully considered one of the top two or three heavyweights ever, but not for the Klitschko brothers. I mean, maybe if they were born in Detroit they’d be great, but everybody knows all-time great heavyweights can’t come from the Ukraine, right?
All the while, your buddy, the one who can’t name three heavyweights who fought before 1980, is content to keep his head in the sand and believe the heavyweight division is a dump, willingly blinding himself to anything that would tell him otherwise.
The whole Mayweather-Pacquiao debacle is fuel for this type of thing, and it’s not just one side: it’s both. There’s the group that ranks Pacquiao top five pound for pound ever (yep, these people actually exist). They think Mayweather is doing all he can (despite betting odds most likely heavily favoring Floyd in the fight) to avoid the confrontation. Then there’s the jack-wagons praising “Money” Mayweather for a pristine record. These sycophants hashtag their tweets with things like #moneyteam and #greatestofalltime, only recognizing whom he has fought and refusing to admit all the fighters he hasn’t.
And you know what? Floyd Mayweather isn’t even close to being the greatest fighter of all time. And before you go applauding yourself because you’re one of those other brainwashed dimwits, neither is Manny Pacquiao.
Do you know why?
Because Ray Robinson would have fought both of these sissies twice by now. And he would have won all four fights. And so would Henry Armstrong. And Roberto Duran. And Ray Leonard. The list goes on and on and on. Heck, I’d bet the house on Tommy Hearns coming out of a round robin against those two with the most victories between them. Hearns was a fighter. Mayweather and Pacquiao are just entertainers up to this point.
There are exactly two people to blame in this whole thing, and fans of both fights should stop trying to be “one of the group” and start really thinking about who that is. No, it’s not Bob Arum. It’s not one of the sanctioning bodies. It’s not FightHype.com or any other garbage excuses you could use to keep the fingers pointed away from who they ought to be pointed to.
It’s Mayweather and Pacquiao’s fault. Period. And it’s time for the group to recognize it.
But that’s not just for me to know. It’s for you and for your buddy. And if your buddy doesn’t know, you are going to have to tell him. And he has to tell his buddy and so on and so forth. By now, it’s clear that it is going to take fight fans everywhere to pull together for this thing to actually happen, so stop buying their stupid fights until they face the music and fight each other. Hit them where it hurts: their pocketbooks. If we know anything about these two guys, it’s that neither guy would win awards for their money management skills. They need you more than you need them. They’ve only forgotten it.
And it’s not even that you need to agree with me in all this. In fact, don’t agree with me at all unless you actually agree with me. Think for yourself. That’s the point of this. No more group-think. Stop being a sheep.
Sure, read all the message boards you want, and chat it up with all the cheap seat compadres you can, but whatever you do, WHATEVER YOU DO, think about things as an individual and not some mindless, brain-dead zombie looking to hate the Klitschko brothers and praise Manny Pacquiao because you want to be part of the herd. Be you instead.
And think for yourself.