In the past, Mexico has produced some of the biggest names in boxing. Legends such as Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez and Carlos Zarate all represented Mexico in their quest for championship titles. However, today the landscape of boxing has drastically changed and so has the amount of credible talent coming from our southern neighbors, with Canelo Alveraz being the last vestige of championship calibre boxing. It’s becoming undeniably apparent that Mexico should begin to embrace mixed-martial arts and place its efforts and funding into producing the next generation of MMA champions.
The sport of boxing is a shadow of its former self, and if the current state of affairs indicates an ongoing trend we will most likely continue to see a debilitating degradation of the sport. Gone are the days in which the moniker of ‘the world’s baddest man’ belonged to the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Today that title is unquestionably bestowed upon the UFC Heavyweight champion and few would argue against this.
Boxing has become synonymous with side-shows at the local circus, with their biggest events being between imbecile, cringe-worthy youtube/tiktok ‘stars’, middle-aged arthritis-riddin former boxers, and various other freakshow fights such as the god-awful ‘performance’ between forgotten sad boy rapper Aaron Carter and the former Kardashian, Lamar Odom. It was a fight that left viewers visibly confused and disorientated. Rankings and experience are now worthless in the sport, replaced by instagram followings and status in popular culture. Nobody is watching the sport to see the very best in the world compete at the highest level, instead viewers are watching to see if their favorite celebrities “might” actually be able to throw a punch. No other sport in recent memory has lost the amount of credibility boxing has or had as so many amateur level ‘athletes’ are competing on live television. You don’t see air-head youtubers or retired tennis players throwing up jump shots next to the likes of Lebron James or James Harden in the NBA, and yet the equivalent of that is occurring in boxing and the ‘youtuber’ boxing trend only continues to grow.
With the sport of boxing losing its integrity and credibility it seems only logical for Mexico to focus on preparing their athletes for MMA and rallying behind their fighters. Just recently Mexican-born fighter Brandon Moren fulfilled his promise of winning a UFC title, and in doing so etched his name into MMA history as the first major title holder for his otherwise boxing enthused nation. Four years ago Moreno was just a name in a hat, a kid from an unrecognized MMA market who dared to believe in himself and the idea that he could become a UFC champion one day. By defeating Brazil’s Dieveson Figueiredo, Moreno has cemented himself as the face of Mexican MMA, and if the 27-year-old Tijuanan is able to defend his title for a while the effects of his success will continue to pay dividends for years to come. Moreno’s feat deserves to resonate, and serves as an inflection point, a moment that signals that Mexico is ready and capable of producing world-class mixed-martial artists by investing in the region.