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Mcebo Dlamini appears in court. Picture Credit: Julia Madibogo
#FeesMustFall leader Mcebo Dlamini denied bail

Controversial former University of the Witwatersrand SRC president Mcebo Dlamini was denied bail in .

Skilled little guys are boxing's hope

By Richard Sandomir | Jan 04, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

IF this decade has proved anything, it is that the little guys can carry boxing on their own.

Conventional wisdom once held that the sport needs a healthy heavyweight division.

It was true with Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and with George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, whose reputation for ferocity lasted long after his skills diminished.

But if a critical measure of boxing's strength is pay-per-view success, then the heavyweights surrendered their hold on fans in 2002 after Lennox Lewis knocked out Tyson, drawing 1,98 million buyers paying $112million.

Ever since, pay-per-view has been dominated by Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao - skilled and charismatic men of the lower weight divisions. The roster of non-heavyweights also includes Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Winky Wright and Bernard Hopkins.

The Mayweather-De La Hoya bout in 2007 eclipsed Lewis-Tyson by 400000 buyers to set a record. Last month's Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight drew 1,25million buyers.

And the heavyweights? John Ruiz, the Klitschkos (Vitali and Wladimir), Ruslan Chagaev, David Haye, Sultan Ibragimov and Nikolai Valuev do not stir the fighting soul or hit pay-per-view heights.

De La Hoya, the golden boy with matinee idol looks, has been the biggest pay-per-view attraction (grossing nearly $700million in 19 pay-per-view fights). His skills helped him win 10 titles in six divisions, but he lost three of his last five fights before retiring to be a promoter and to oversee his business interests.

Mayweather, a defensive savant, is a magnetic, boastful, money-adoring superstar who has moonlighted with World Wrestling Entertainment (exercising his circus gene) and has a family saga that could fuel the subplots for several reality series.

But Pacquiao may be the greatest boxer of the three and the one to carry the sport into the next decade. That is, if he survives a fight with Mayweather (a bout that is in serious doubt if you believe that the nastiness between the camps over pre-fight blood testing will kill a huge moneymaker) and does not seek a second act in Philippine politics too soon.

Pacquiao has won a record seven titles in seven divisions from lightweight to welterweight.

His torrential offensive style is attractive to fans who like their fights fast, furious and bloody. He won at 112 pounds. He wins at 145 pounds. And he is an actor and a singer with two platinum albums.


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