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Hear me out on this. Take for example American football, a sport that's popular in America. Every year pretty much every team that makes the playoffs has at least a fair amount of national interest, and the heavy favorites get a lot of interest. Then there are a few teams like the Cowboys that get national interest no matter how bad they are. And every team that doesn't make the playoffs still has a decent amount of interest from their hometown region.

In boxing, at any given time there usually weren't that many boxers that got a lot of interest. It was usually a few heavyweights, a few middle weights, and then an endless list of names no one cared about except for die hard boxing fans. Those few heavyweights and middle weights were popular and a lot of people watched their fights. But with so few boxers that people really cared about at any given time, would you say boxing was never, or usually not popular?
 

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If you were old like me, you would know that pro boxers in most weight categories were household names in the past. Rocky Graziano, Sugar Ray Robinson, Carlos Ortiz, for example, couldn't walk the streets of NYC without getting hounded for autographs. Back in the 1960s I well remember Jose "Chegui" Torres making a public appearance in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Poor guy was swarmed with people seeking his attention and I was among them. This type of veneration was typical in the USA in those days. Today, East New York continues to produce some of the best pro boxers in the world but most folks could not recognize them from anyone else.

Please remember that boxers had many more fights in the past than they do today. Furthermore, there were weekly boxing shows on several network channels which gave the fighters much recognition. The NY Daily News & Daily Mirror were tabloids that were filled with photographs of the fighters which made them more recognizable. Boxing clubs were all over the inner cities and the fighters readily accessible unlike today. My dad had been a semi pro boxer in Puerto Rico and the sport was his passion. He spent many hours of his free time hanging out with and watching boxers train at the old St Nick on Amsterdam Avenue (NYC) and at the Eastern Parkway in Brownsville (Brooklyn). The doors were always open, no charge for admission to watch those workouts. I believe only Gleason's (NYC) charged admission for watching and the price was quite small so far as I understand. Dunno if the one in Brooklyn does that anymore.

Pro boxing championship and weekly fights were held in Madison Sq Garden, neighborhood arenas, and baseball stadiums such as Ebbets Field which, again, were readily accessible by the public. Today they are held in Las Vegas which is highly elitist with costs for tickets being utterly astronomical which means it no longer is viewed as the working man's sport. Thus, boxing is not as popular because it is much less accessible than it was in the past.
 

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I don't think you can say that boxing was never or is usually not popular. While it's true that there were usually only a few boxers that had a lot of interest, those boxers still garnered a great deal of attention, and their fights were heavily watched. Boxing was also popular at a regional level, as there were many local boxers that had a devoted fan base. Additionally, boxing has had a long and storied history, which has provided a steady base of boxing fans and supporters over the years. So while boxing may not have had the same level of popularity as American football, it still had its own devoted following. I got in love with boxing last year while watching Usyk fights, and after New Year, I want to start training. I found these boxing gloves. Any thoughts, or maybe someone can advise me on something else? Thanks
 

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I remember many years ago of reading accounts about the Brown Bomber Joe Louis when he fought. It is my understanding that many poor black families would huddle around the radio in their living rooms as announcers like "Socker" Coe, Ted Husing, and Clem McCarthy would announce his fights. Get this --- 57 million listened to McCarthy's announcement of Louis's victory over Schmeling:




Other estimates were said to be 70 million listeners.


The golden voice of Clem McCarthy:





Huge celebration of Louis's victory in Harlem:









Same thing happened in the Muhammed Ali era. He drew tremendous crowds wherever he went. Pro boxing was infinitely more popular in the old days. Am so glad I'm old enough to have witnessed so much of this.
 

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I read a stat a few years ago, that during the 1930s there were more professional fighters registered in the USA alone than there are registered globally today (today being whatever the year was a few years ago). I'm not sure if that is true but boxing in the US of A was a national sport in the first half of the 20th century. It was so popular because it was broadcast and radio and written about in the papers almost on a daily basis with top fighters having tens of fights every year. American football wasn't even close to boxing in those days and you can forget about basketball.

The decrease in popularity started with PPV events in the 80s and boxing has been side lined in the mainstream ever since.
 

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Every blue-collar neighborhood in New York was dotted with [boxing] gyms. Every block had a fighter or a relative of a fighter. It was a sport that was accessible to us.



Very nice article. Boxing was the working man's sport back in the day. It was incredibly popular back then.
 

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Hear me out on this. Take for example American football, a sport that's popular in America. Every year pretty much every team that makes the playoffs has at least a fair amount of national interest, and the heavy favorites get a lot of interest. Then there are a few teams like the Cowboys that get national interest no matter how bad they are. And every team that doesn't make the playoffs still has a decent amount of interest from their hometown region.

In boxing, at any given time there usually weren't that many boxers that got a lot of interest. It was usually a few heavyweights, a few middle weights, and then an endless list of names no one cared about except for die hard boxing fans. Those few heavyweights and middle weights were popular and a lot of people watched their fights. But with so few boxers that people really cared about at any given time, would you say boxing was never, or usually not popular?
Boxing was extremely popular, even more outside of "big names" until like 50-60s. Thing with football is, in general, you know more names for 2 reasons: it's a team sport(hence why there are more people in the spotlight) and that it's just help on much higher scale( kinda what happens with team sports, i.e baseball, basketball, soccer). And another big reason is education. During school in pretty much every country what sports are played throught your education? Baseball, basketball, football, soccer. It's a power of familiarity that brings those sports into the spotlight in my opinion.
 

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Hear me out on this. Take for example American football, a sport that's popular in America. Every year pretty much every team that makes the playoffs has at least a fair amount of national interest, and the heavy favorites get a lot of interest. Then there are a few teams like the Cowboys that get national interest no matter how bad they are. And every team that doesn't make the playoffs still has a decent amount of interest from their hometown region.

In boxing, at any given time there usually weren't that many boxers that got a lot of interest. It was usually a few heavyweights, a few middle weights, and then an endless list of names no one cared about except for die hard boxing fans. Those few heavyweights and middle weights were popular and a lot of people watched their fights. But with so few boxers that people really cared about at any given time, would you say boxing was never, or usually not popular?
As all have said it WAS very popular.

Back in the radios days outside of maybe baseball no sport was more popular.

It wasn't just the names that were famous either. Evreyone knew everyone and knew their stats and could cite their statistics etc
 

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Boxing was INCREDIBLY popular back in the day. It started to fall off right around the time Mike Tyson went down and has pretty much been on the downswing since.
I wouldn't say it's been a constant downswing.

The Klitschko's were the worst thing to happen boxing. Not only for their style and dominance but because there was two of them and they wouldn't fight each other. Heavyweight boxing had always been the money division and they buried it. There still hasn't been an undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis which is insane.

There was an pretty big boost for boxing in the prime Mayweather/Pacquiao years but the delay and eventual disappointment of their fight turned a lot of people off. I'd say there's been another resurgence with he emergence of some top heavyweights while Canelo has been hugely popular. It's not what it was but it's damn sure better than it was in the mid 00's.

I actually MMA is in a bigger downswing than boxing right now. The UFC have pretty much followed the WWE model to a tee and are spamming content to appease their TV partners. Making more money but drawing less viewers. The star power of the fighters is dwindling every year.
 

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I wouldn't say it's been a constant downswing.

The Klitschko's were the worst thing to happen boxing. Not only for their style and dominance but because there was two of them and they wouldn't fight each other. Heavyweight boxing had always been the money division and they buried it. There still hasn't been an undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis which is insane.

There was an pretty big boost for boxing in the prime Mayweather/Pacquiao years but the delay and eventual disappointment of their fight turned a lot of people off. I'd say there's been another resurgence with he emergence of some top heavyweights while Canelo has been hugely popular. It's not what it was but it's damn sure better than it was in the mid 00's.

I actually MMA is in a bigger downswing than boxing right now. The UFC have pretty much followed the WWE model to a tee and are spamming content to appease their TV partners. Making more money but drawing less viewers. The star power of the fighters is dwindling every year.
That's why I said "pretty much." Boxing has had a few spikes on the way down, of course, but overall, it's plummeted in terms of public consciousness. When I was a kid in the '80s and '90s, a heavyweight title fight was a can't miss affair. Now, I honestly can't tell you for sure who the world champion is. Is it still Tyson Fury?
 
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