It always pains me to think about boxing. To practice in boxing’s ways, which is plainly a good healthy practice of life, is about pain. It’s about constant, free movement. It’s about intentionality in all movement from head to toe. It’s about combining your eyes and instinct like calm water in one instant, and then like a strike of lightning in the next. It’s about feeling worldly, human, truth-telling pain, while another voice ignores it to reach for deeper power. It’s about feeling every source of strength and sending a blow concentrated in human’s most underrated tool, the fist of hand. It’s exhilarating to practice, and it’s even more exciting seeing the best in the world succeed, innovate, and compete at the world level.
But not only in practice, but also in theory it pains me to think about boxing. To me, the health of competition of the sport is how much the greats of the sport regard its competition today. And when you see some of the American greats look to the past instead of towards the future, they lament on how the rules, the players, the organizations, the game… they don’t regard Boxing as the same as it once was. Why hasn’t it caught on? Where are the undisputed world champions of our day?
Some confirmation bias however, as you can expect from the BMB historian. History is always shinier. However, let me introduce to you one of the greatest Lightweight World Champions, US Virgin Islands very first world champion Livingstone Bramble. Fighting at a time of competition where he had beat Ray Mancini twice, he also went on to fight the likes of Tyrone Crawley, Roger Mayweather, and Kostya Tszyu. He was a talented, purposeful, graceful but gritty fighter. He has a very pragmatic reason to why he hasn’t paid attention to recent champions other than the retired champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. He simply says the talent is not there.
We’re not putting amateurs out there. We’re not winning gold medals. And it’s not even just the United States, the whole world. Years ago, when a guy won the gold medal you know he was going to win the world championship.
That’s not happening. We’re not getting that no more…We still searching for that.
As for me, it’s nice to play around and practice my jab, straight right, hooks, and my foot placement. I end up looking at old youtube videos on repeat in hopes of getting a glimpse of understanding of the excellence of Boxing as a martial art from the greats like Livingstone Bramble. Will we continue looking in the past for true talent in boxing? Or is the best yet to come? Whatever happens, I thank Dr. Doo for Livingstone Bramble, and the YouTube boxing community for documenting the greats of the past. Here’s hoping we find them all in the future.