Convicted Artist Magazine

Jun 05th
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chris_strait03With the announcement that the 2012 London Olympics will include women's boxing, the first sarcastic reaction I had was, "great, now that amateur boxing is over for U.S. men, they're going to invite women to the party."  I'm sure the ladies appreciate being included in this sinking ship.  I'm the first to hate it when mainstream sportswriters, whose bandwagon behavior is often at political party or religion levels, write about the death of professional boxing.  It has been a ridiculous assertion since they started saying it 30 years ago, and it still is.  Amateur boxing, however, did seem to be dying... at least for Americans. 

5 straight Olympic games with only 3 gold medalists is not a drought.  That is a pattern.  I miss the days when we at least deserved medals, and they were robbing us.  That still happens, but nowadays its more likely that the fighters style did not fit the Olympics, and they made no adjustments... more concerned about their pro career than anything else.  It isn't just the U.S. either.  No matter who was winning, it was boring, and was making fewer and fewer stars.  For the women, however, it can be different.

This is a fresh start because there is no such thing as a woman's program where the ladies chalk up 300-plus amateur fights.  At least not yet.  It's not a matter of exposure like it was when the women carried the U.S. banner in soccer.  It is simply a lack of experience.  Imagine a whole Olympic category with the lack of experience of George Foreman or Deontay Wilder.  Both of those men medaled by fighting naturally.  Their ignorance of amateur technique was bliss. 
Also, any time something is new to Americans, it is certain to make celebrity if given the right spotlight.  All we need is a remotely personable, and good-looking (let's be honest) woman to medal at all.  Then, with the right marketing, and matchmaking, female boxing could have it's first real crossover star.  Laila Ali did a decent job, but following the Jacqui Frazier matchup, was unable to secure fights with anyone who presented a challenge.  Therefore the popularity did not last, and women's boxing went nowhere. 

The best case scenario is a woman with looks and personality to breeze through to the gold medal, and make the commercials and talk show circuit.  Unlike other sports, fight cards are co-ed.  Women's boxing has been leeching attention off of men's boxing, due to their follower status.  That could end with a big star in the women's game.  How ironic it would be if that were the case. 
We, as fans, are all looking for the next big thing in boxing.  Maybe we should turn our eyes across the hall to the other locker room.  The right person for the job of president is most certainly not Sarah Palin, but before the U.S. as a whole is saved, our sisters may just bring back to prominence an equally up-and-down superpower.

Chris Strait

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