One of the worst things about being an avid sports fan is that the older you get, the more respect you lose for your longtime love. You begin to notice all the fluff and bluff that goes along with high-dollar athletics, and the events around which your weekends were scheduled become afterthoughts on your agenda. Ask anybody close to me about my childhood obsession with wrestling or my teenage love affair with college football. Now, ask me when was the last time I watched a wrestling match or tuned in for a whole quarter of NCAA football, let alone a whole game.

I was driven away from the college gridiron by shady politics and forced out of love with wrestling by the fakeness of it all. Combine both reasons and you have the keywords underlined in my divorce papers that I’m issuing to the sport of boxing. After watching Floyd Mayweather Jr. dissect and disable Shane Mosley over the weekend it became apparent: You’ve got to give the people what they want, not what they can settle for.

Mosley was a nice substitution in the place of Manny Pacquiao, but if you want to gun down Mayweather you’re going to need some heavier artillery than a 38-year-old boxer on the downside of his career. Whether you’re with him or against him, you have to admit: Mayweather is an excellent fighter and is clearly in a class of two— himself and Pacquiao. If I’m going to spend $70 for a fight, I need to see two evenly matched opponents slugging it out from the press conference to the dressing room, to the ring and back to the post conference podium.

But what did I get, instead? A master tactician, and a gassed out former champion that had no business being in the ring with him.

As a teenager growing up I remember the fight parties my older brothers would throw whenever Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe or rising stars such as a Oscar De La Hoya and a young Shane Mosley—back when he was “Sugar”—were set to take the ring. Boxing was boxing back then minus the politics and Olympic-style drug testing debates.

I’m tired for settling for what is doled out in boxing instead of what I want. In the old days boxers would call each other out then, surprisingly, they’d set a date and box. Fast forward to the boxing of today and all you’ll find is politics and a bunch of actors, minus, however, my love for the sport.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO