Can Boxing Take More Hits?

The anticipated stroll to the ring. The climactic squaring off at the center of the canvas. The bell rings . . . travesty!

I am not describing a WWF match, but sadly enough I am painting a portrait of so-called boxing matches that have taken place in recent years.

Fight after fight, the outcome has erased any viewer's hope of legitimately believing that boxing should be considered a professional sport. Not to mention the beginning of the fight - where more and more we are forced to look at overweight, out of shape specimens that are just there to punish themselves for lots of money. At least the professional wrestlers are in incredible shape, and have to stay that way if they want to keep their jobs.

We aren't watching Ali vs. Frazier, or Hagler vs. Hearns, but every key fight has built up anticipation that we will see one of the greatest bouts of our generation. Who are we kidding?

It never fails. Mike Tyson to fight a rematch against Evander Holyfield. The brawler against the boxer. With shady promoter Don King lurking in the crowd, the fight is underway. And before you know it, another fiasco; one that the WWF couldn't have scripted better. A professional athlete had just bitten a piece of an ear off from another professional athlete.

Not only did this really happen, but just three days ago that fighter, Mike Tyson, was back in the ring. This time, a controversial ending to a one-rounder that I still can't believe actually happened in a pro sport. A late hit . . . a knock down . . . and then the refusal to return to the ring with a questionable hurt knee. How much more can we take?

It is bad enough that the fighters make a joke of the sport, but somehow the judges stay consistent with the act. A much-anticipated event: Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad. Finally a fight that will live up to its expectation! With De la Hoya dominating, and I mean dominating, the 8th round comes. In De La Hoya's mind the fight is his. Why should he be forced to brawl for four rounds and take a chance to lose the fight? With dancing, bobbing and weaving, De La Hoya makes it to the finish line with no cuts and bruises. But the judges give the victory to Trinidad. How is this possible? A judge can't take away points from a fighter for not wanting to take a chance on losing. And why should anyone want to get hit in the face if they don't have to? But the decision stands: Felix Trinidad as the welterweight champion.

Felix Trinidad gets the controversial welterweight decision over Oscar De La Hoya.

Probably the strongest evidence against boxing occurred in the Holfield and Lewis bout. Where anyone who watched the fight couldn't believe the outcome. On paper . . . an overwhelming win for Lennox Lewis. But once again the judges called it differently. The fight ended in a draw. But the controversy just started. In fact one of the judges decided that she made a mistake in the scoring. So what does that mean? Holyfield And Lewis Rematch Ordered! What a punishment! Another fight for more money, and another let down for us - the idiots that are drawn to the screen to watch it.

There is probably nothing going to stop the charade. Boxing has always beaten the odds, even when walking the thin line. With new fighters, new promoters, and always new viewers, boxing continues to take the blows without being knocked out. Too bad . . . I yearn for the knockdowns of yesteryear.

Written by's Larry Roth. ©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed