It is a term often reserved for successful television shows that have stayed on the air past their prime but one that can appropriately now be applied to professional boxing. It has, sadly, “jumped the shark”. For those not familiar with the shark jumping phraseology, it originated with none other than the Fonz. Yes, Arthur Fonzarelli or Fonzie to his friends. At a time when Happy Days should have been yanked off the air several seasons prior, the producers at Happy Days came up with the concept that the Fonz would slap on some water skies and jump over a shark. It was at that moment that everyone could finally agree – Happy Days was no longer making anyone happy.
Despite the absence of water skies, boxing recently reached the lowest of lows as well. Sure, De La Hoya and Pacquiao made out like bandits grabbing $22 million and $11 million respectfully – allowing for the argument that there remains a strong and loyal boxing following. The fight? Well it sucked but that seems to be besides the point in boxing these days.
To make my point clear – was anyone aware of the heavyweight championship bout on December 13th, 2008? I missed it. Didn’t even know it was scheduled. This is a division that was once the home of Ali, Frazier, Tyson and more recently Lennox Lewis. If any of those former champions were defending their belts, even if against an unknown opponent in their basement, the boxing world would have been all over it. These days, the marquee division in boxing – the big boys – is a joke.
Let’s recap the fight. Wladimir Klitschko stopped Hasim Rahman in the seventh round in Mannheim Germany to retain his three heavyweight belts. That’s about all you need to know unless you are looking for a good laugh. Ok, here goes – Klitschko landed 178 punches to Rahman’s… 30. To do the math for you, that is just over 4 punches per round. Do you see the shark yet? Allow me to continue then – on the undercard was none other than former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe who beat Gene Pukall (14-13-2). Yes, Gene Pukall. It was Bowe’s third professional fight since 1996. He’s taking his time between bouts.
Congratulations Wladimir – next up for you Larry Holmes perhaps?