This is Why Boxing has Changed Forever

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Hi guys, Scott Asner here. As you all know, I love sports and I particularly love boxing.

Boxing is one of the purest forms of a sport you can find; two men, competing directly against each other with no external forces influencing the outcome. Or, well, it was previously like that. Boxing has changed.

When Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in 1974 it was just two men trying to best each other with pure technique, strength and determination. The best boxers didn’t just have the best physiques, but possessed an extra gear; a voice that simply said “I won’t lose.” Mike Tyson fought people much larger than him, weathering barrages that should have knocked people much bigger than him out, but his competitive spirit refused to lose. These boxers were concerned with nothing other than beating their opponent; it was as simple as that.

Today boxing has become something very different. While I love the notoriety and prestige that boxing has enjoyed in recent years, I thinks the sport has changed. Where there was once a pure, unadulterated contest between two athletes, there is now more circumstance than fight. Publicity has taken center stage, with sport playing second fiddle.

Much like other sports, boxing has adapted to social media; but the sport lost something along the way. Boxers used to fight each other for accolades. The desire to be number one was their main driving force, but today that force is money. It’s hard to say when exactly this change happened, but the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight of 2015 is a good example. You might remember how that fight went, or rather how it ‘didn’t’ go, with both fighters trading what seemed like inconsequential blows until a judge’s decision mercifully ended the altogether unremarkable bout.

While you may remember the fight, chances are, most people remember the build-up much more. The media had a field day with the headlines, the whole world was on the edge of its seat. I couldn’t help but think about how out of hand things had become. Boxers have always been interested in the prize money, but $300 million for a single fight is ridiculous; a prize like that can’t help but change the ethos of any sport.

Muhammad Ali and George Foreman each took home $5 million dollars for their historic fight in ’74, but even adjusted for inflation (about $27M in 2021) that only represents 1/10 of the purse earned by Mayweather and Pacquaio for their 2015 bought. The focus of the sport has undoubtedly shifted to generating revenue. The names on the ticket being almost more important than the fight itself.

More recently, boxing has taken another strange turn. Where it was once an arena for seasoned athletes, today it has become a place to settle celebrity beef. It’s shocking to see internet personalities that I’ve never heard of before on the billing cards of high-profile fights. Jake Paul comes to mind. This is someone whose internet fame seems to eclipse his athletic accomplishments, but he still garners attention in a boxing match. When Jake Paul fought Nate Robinson, I had little respect for either fighter. Here was a retired basketball player and an internet celebrity fighting in the ring, a place made sacred by the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson and Mike Tyson. It felt like people were there to watch the story of the fight, to cheer for the ‘underdog’ when neither fighter was even a boxer by trade. The purity of the sport is long gone, and what remains is unproven.

Jake Paul, after handing Robinson a loss by K.O. went on to fight a former MMA fighter and won that bought as well, but any boxing fan understands that these wins mean very little. Paul hasn’t fought a real boxer before, but at least he’s fought, unlike his brother.

Logan Paul, Jake’s brother, fought Floyd Mayweather in June 2021. Logan has fought only once before, losing to fellow ‘YouTuber’ KSI. I was outraged. What happened to climbing up the ranks; having your eyes set on the championship title as you progressed past ever more challenging opponents? How is it that someone who has never even participated in a professional boxing match now gets to fight one of the greatest of all time without qualification?

The easy answer: it’s all about the money. This boxing fan, however, misses the time when it was all about the competition.

~ Scott Asner, wannabe musician and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

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The NFL Draft Might Be the Most Watched Sporting Event of 2020

Hey there, Sports fans –

As many of us tuned into the 2020 NFL draft a couple of weeks ago, I had a realization that seemed somewhat surreal to me. Due to the ongoing pandemic: the NFL draft may be the most watched sporting event in the entire year of 2020.

The draft has continually earned more viewings every single year, with the 2019 event attracting nearly double the viewership than in just 2015. And new ratings show that this year’s draft saw a record-breaking 15.6 million viewers; a 37% increase from last year. Needless to say, the NFL has never been hotter.

But with reports of a potential “second coronavirus wave,” expected to arrive in the fall, this year’s NFL season may end up being exclusive to TV, or even postponed.

Interestingly, due to the enormous amount of TV revenue generated in a typical season, the NFL is in a better position than other sports financially to play to empty stadiums. In fact, due to the postponement of virtually every other sporting event – including the Olympics – TV viewership will most likely be higher this year.

At least the NFL season has until the fall to figure out their strategy. Perhaps by then, we may have figured out a way to mitigate the spread of another coronavirus outbreak, or possibly even have an effective and reliable treatment. For the time being, we can all still boo Roger Goodell and hope for the best.

Until next time, Go Chiefs!


~ Scott Asner, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

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Tipping Point: Will New Faces on Defense Propel Chiefs to go all the way in 2019?

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With the September 8 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars just weeks away, I’m excited about the Kansas City Chiefs’ prospects for 2019.  Like every other Chiefs fan, I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time – ever since our heart-breaking overtime loss to the New England Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship game.

Unless you were living in a cave last season, it would have been impossible not to notice that second year-quarterback Patrick Mahomes lit up the scoreboard all season long, becoming just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season. Mahomes led the chiefs to an impressive 12-4 regular season record, a performance that was good enough to earn Kansas City the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs – the first time the Chiefs reached the top seed in the conference since 1997. It was also good enough to earn Patrick Mahomes the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award.

Despite having the NFL’s best offense and home-field advantage, I was still concerned the Chiefs might somehow find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when they faced the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round.  After all, the Chiefs had lost the last six of their previous home playoff games and 4 of their last playoff games against Indianapolis.

My fears proved to be unfounded.  Mahomes picked apart the Colts secondary and Kansas City’s unstoppable offense rolled up an impressive 31-13 victory to end 25 years of playoff drought. 

Although the Chiefs fielded the best offense in the league, the defense – which ranked second to last among NFL teams in total defense – played inconsistently throughout the season.  Despite performing well against Indianapolis in the divisional round, the defense collapsed in the second half of the AFC Conference Championship against New England, allowing the Patriots to run the ball into the end zone during the overtime period (and ending our dreams of Superbowl glory). 

Following the conclusion of the 2018 season, the Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and brought in Steve Spagnuolo, a veteran defensive guru who is known for running aggressive defenses and favoring unconventional blitzing schemes.  Spagnuolo has a lot of experience coaching defense for winning teams, most notably the 2007 New York Giants Super Bowl team.  He also worked previously as part of Andy Reid’s coaching staff with the Philadelphia Eagles and spent two years as a head coach with the St. Louis Rams.

In addition to changing the defensive coaching staff and going from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3, the Chiefs let some marquee players go. Gone are defensive lineman Allen Bailey, linebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford, cornerback Steven Nelson and safety Eric Berry.  Given the disaster that was the Chiefs’ secondary last year – not to mention Berry’s chronic injury issues – those moves should have come as no surprise.  Losing veterans Dee Ford and Justin Houston DID surprise a lot of people, yet considering the move to a 4-3 defense, it may prove to be justified.

Their likely replacements include defensive linemen Frank Clark, a free agent acquisition formerly with the Seattle Seahawks and Alex Okafor, acquired from the New Orleans Saints.  Along with linebacker Damien Wilson (Dallas Cowboys), all three of these players have significant experience playing in the 4-3 scheme.  Adding to the mix are free agent defensive backs Bashard Breeland (Green Bay Packers) and Tyrann Mathieu (Houston Texans).  Bashard, a cornerback who played with the Washington Redskins for three seasons, signed with the Packers last September.  Despite playing in only 7 games last season, he amassed 20 tackles, four passes defended, two interceptions and a tackle for loss.  Tyrann Mathieu is a veteran safety who will provide leadership and depth.

The new free agents will be joined by veteran stalwarts Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland at linebacker, defensive tackle Chris Jones (who just reported to training camp after a long holdout) and defensive backs Daniel Sorenson (safety) and Kendall Fuller (cornerback).  Juan Thornhill, a second- round pick in the 2019 draft, has impressed in training camp and will likely compete with Sorenson for the starting free safety slot.

Will this makeover of the Chiefs defense be enough to take them over the threshold?  No one can say for certain, but we will all know soon enough.  One thing I do expect: a vastly improved Kansas City Chiefs defense.

~ Scott Asner Kansas City, Missouri

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