I learned first handedly the joys of boxing when I trained with super talented and well-known MMA star Neil Diesel. Gloves on, pounding away on a bag, focused and in control of where to make your mark and landing the perfect jab, cross and hook, every tension in your body just melts away on impact.
Boxing, also known as the sweet science, has roots that go all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. Back then, fights would take place without gloves only leather strapped on to the hands. This resulted in even more gruesome, deadly battles. The first documented “boxing match” took place in 1681 in Britain when the Duke of Albemarle engineered a bout between his butler and his butcher. Seriously.
Jack Boughton, also known as “the Father of Boxing,” developed the first set of rules for the sport and published them in 1743 after a bout in 1744 where he killed his opponent. People learnt the sweet science the hard way.
The most revolutionary change in the sport came in 1865 when John Sholto Douglass, the Eighth Marquess of Queensbury, drew up new rules of boxing which basically transformed the sport into what it is today. Regarded as the “Patron Saint” of boxing, the most significant changes he made were three-minute rounds and the regulated use of approved boxing gloves.
In 1927 the National Boxing Association (NBA) became the first “sanctioning body” to govern over the sport. These sanctioning bodies ranked fighters and arranged matches between champions and the most deserving challengers, all for a healthy sanctioning fee of course. Today, three “recognised” sanctioning bodies control the world of boxing. The WBC, IBF and WBA are the only bodies whos fighters are recognised worldwide as “champions’’.
In the never-ending battle between the two biggest fighting sports in the world, mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing, MMA might be the more popular culture right now but boxing is still the king when it comes to generating big paydays.
The highest paid MMA fighter in 2010 was Brock Lesnar. For his troubles, the professional wrestler turned mixed martial arts heavyweight champion earned $5.3 million. Given the amount of punishment that MMA fighters typically take in endure during a fight, many were caught off guard at just how small the total earnings are for this top sport.
Boxer Manny Pacquiao, earned $32 million last year. Even though he didn’t fight Floyd Mayweather Jr, he generated over six times the income of the highest paid MMA fighter. So what’s going on here? MMA is more popular yet boxers get paid triple or quadruple a martial artist’s salary? (See panel on left)
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