What makes a sport watchable? Everyone likes a sport, athlete or team for their own reasons and the more fans there are the better it is for everyone in the sport but not all sports/athletes get the recognition they deserve. For boxing, the women’s divisions get little to no recognition in the United States but elsewhere in the world they get the complete opposite treatment.
Recently, former world champion and future hall of fame trainer Robert Garcia spoke with Elie Seckbach about women’s boxing and was blunt on the state of women’s boxing in the United States.
“Right now women’s boxing is not big at all,” said Garcia. “You go to Argentina, some fights in Mexico, I don’t know Europe but here, in the United States, it’s completely dead.” Dead, but to what degree? “In the last fifteen to twenty years nobody gives a fuck about it.”
When the subject of Holly Holm not getting attention from the boxing media until she went to the UFC, Garcia accredited that to the popularity of Ronda Rouse and how she would finish her opponents off quickly. He also spoke on what some of the biggest names in women’s boxing brought to the table and how you get fans to want to watch them.
“[Holm got the attention recently] because of Ronda Rousey that’s why. If you go back fifteen years, same thing. Christy Martin was fucking shit up beating up other girls when Mia St. John came out in Playboy and everybody wanted to go see her fight. That’s why! Fifteen years ago, we had Christy Martin, Laila Ali, Mia St. John. [They] were huge.”
So how were women boxers treated different then from now? They actually got TV time and fought on pay per view.
“Don King always put Christy Martin on pay per view. Top Rank always put Mia St. John (whom Garcia trained) pay per view because it was big at that time” (which is exactly what the UFC is doing).
So, in order for “gorgeous women’s boxing” to get recognition, you need a brawler, sex appeal, extreme talent and marketability. I’m pretty sure it’s out there but is it in the U.S. and is anyone looking for them?