I wrote earlier this week about the questions posed to boxing fans by Manny Pacquiao’s continued career. Pacquiao ploughs on at an age when the leading lights of every preceding generation were long retired, whether in good health or bad, destitute or comfortable. Where once fighters were considered ‘shop-worn’ or ripe for the plucking, we now find the perennially untested, underachievers and those still punching to prove themselves.
The volume of shows, the quantity of fighters and the plethora of platforms fans can now access to consume boxing creates a script in which the characters, and the weeks and months, are dragged across the stage with increasing speed.
In the thrall of this often breathless narrative and the surge of popularity fuelling it, certainly in the UK, themes and large scale ‘set-changes’ can be harder to notice. Pacquiao’s 40th birthday provided this observer with the necessary illumination to the shift in fighter demographics that has occurred in the past twenty years.
Fighters appear to believe their prime is an infinite or elastic resource and, as a state of mind, it can’t help to bring the best available together. After all, ‘there is always next year’.
Continue reading “Boxing, is it still a young man’s game?”