Mexican immigration might save boxing
Mitt Romney, whose father, as we know, was born in Mexico, attended Saturday night’s Manny Pacquiao / Juan Manuel Marquez fight, and this was his reaction as Marquez went lights out on Pacquiao:
I was at a bar waiting for a drink and some guy started talking to me about the fight which really wasn’t all that interesting to me. The guy who started talking to me was black and said “You ever been to Hooters during one of these fights? They got one dollar beers and you gotta get there at 5 o’clock to get a seat. And it’s all Mexicans. You got families of Mexicans in there with their little kids watching. It’s crazy.” Even though the Filipino Pacquiao and the black Floyd Mayweather being the most well-known boxers in the world, boxing in the U.S. over the past decade has fallen almost completely out of favor with whites and blacks while being picked up by Mexicans.
It is very interesting to me how the newest immigrants throughout the history of the U.S. have always been the backbone of boxing. The pattern is consistent save for Asians. The Irish at the turn of last century and then the Italians and some Jews. From the blog The Other Side:
Author and boxing historian Jeffrey T. Sammons states in Beyond the Ring: The Role of Boxing in American Society: “The succession [of great fighters] had gone from Irish to Jewish … to Italians, to [B]lacks, and to Latin[o]s, a pattern that reflected the socioeconomic ladder. As each group moved up, it pulled its youth out of prizefighting and pushed them into more promising … pursuits” (92).
Mexican support for boxing might help sustain the sport for another couple of decades when it might have otherwise failed. If demand does increase though it might be one of those underground phenomena like NASCAR which is hugely popular but flies under the national radar because it is so far removed from the media elites who tell the rest of us about national trends.
Interestingly, Jack Dempsey, probably the most famous boxer of the first half of the 20th century, had Mormon roots and expressed pride in his Mormonism. He was the darling of the Irish, but his parents were Mormon converts. It should be mentioned that at least one Jewish writer tried to claim him for the tribe.