Gone are the days when the heavyweight boxing division was dominated by legendary boxers like Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraser, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Leon Spinks, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton, and Mike Tyson. These boxers were superstars during their time and they made the heavyweight division number one in popularity.
The heavyweight division became very popular during the reign of Muhammad Ali that started in the 1960’s. It was during Ali’s time that new heavyweight boxers were push into the limelight and stayed on for many years. Any budding heavyweight would become instant celebrity especially if a boxer is chosen to fight Muhammad Ali. Joe Fraser became famous after he fought but lost to Muhammad Ali in their fight billed as the “Thrilla in Manila”. George Foreman and Larry Holmes became popular after they fought Muhammad Ali.
It was evident that Muhammad Ali’s popularity during the heavyweight era that the heavyweight division became the focal point of boxing. Heavyweight boxing at that time was synonymous to Muhammad Ali. Perhaps it was Ali’s antics that made boxing the top sports during those times or maybe his refusal to serve in the US Armed Forces or maybe his boxing skill and style.
Today, the heavyweight division is near dormant, with few noticeable fights here and there. The question is why are the promoters not taking the risk in staging fights in the heavyweight division? There are a number of reasons. First and foremost is the lack of “attractive artists” that will pull boxing fans to visit the heavyweight division again now that they are glued to lightweight, welterweight and even featherweight which are now dominated by Pacquiao, de la Hoya, Mayweather, Morales, Barrera, Diaz and Marquez.
In recent years the heavyweight division hardly made it to the front page of sports newspapers and magazines. Vladimir Klitsckko is the only known heavyweight that gets a little attention from the media. But his style of boxing seems to bore boxing fans and televiewers.
Boxing promoters and matchmakers are always looking for qualities in boxers that will bring enough revenues to keep their investors happy. For now they cannot find those qualities in any boxer currently fighting in the heavyweight division.
Today the welterweight division and other categories below it are getting so much attention from boxing fans all over the world. New boxing stars and artists are made in rapid succession and in the process making new millionaires in these categories.
Unless a new heavyweight boxer emerge in the category, the heavyweight division will continue to suffer in terms of revenues from gate receipts, pay-per-view and advertisements.