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There is a reason why people still talk about the greatest boxing rivalries of all time. The first fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the heavyweight championship was one of the most anticipated sporting contests of all time. There are countless other matches that are in the history books. In fact, boxing is one of the oldest sports in the world. Its origins can be traced back to ancient times, first in Egypt around 3000 BC, then in Greece and Rome. These early spars were gruesome, even deadly, with participants wearing little to no protective gear such as gloves. Even in 1681, when the first official boxing match was documented between the Duke of Albemarle’s butler and butcher, the sport was not what is seen in the ring today.
Modern-day boxing started to take shape when Jack Boughton published a set of rules in 1743. The inspiration of his book was tragic; two years prior, he killed an opponent during a match. And, over a hundred years later in 1865, John Sholto Douglass created a new set of rules that brought boxing very close to its current form: three-minute rounds and the standardization of boxing gloves. By 1904, boxing was adopted into the Olympics as a sport.
Boxing continues to be one of the most championed sports. Some of the world’s best boxers are household names: Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, and Julio Cesar Chavez. What draws spectators and boxers to the sport? Some would say that two people battling it out in the ring appeals to a primal sense; after all, the sport has been around in some capacity for centuries. Others would say that the sport requires a combination of brain and brawn. Though it looks like something that is just about the punches, tactic, strategy, and quick-thinking are vital to success. Maybe one of the most universal reasons people love the sport can be found in the list of names about: Boxing shows more humanness than other popular sports. There are only two people in the ring. They have very little equipment and finesse to obscure themselves or their capabilities. It is as emotional as it is technical. And the danger—even with current rules and regulations—manifests risk. Under these conditions, it is hard not to be invested in the outcomes of this sport.
Does the rawness of the sport appeal to you? Does the intensity of the sport appeal to you? Does the technique of the sport appeal to you? No matter the reason for being fascinated by boxing, it is a edge-of-the-seat type of sport for spectators around the world. To see the next big fight or spot some up and coming talent, grab some tickets to a ring now.