Down Out And Out But Not Necessarily Forgotten ………….
We all tend to rather not see our sporting heroes or icons carry on beyond their prime. When that happens their frailties become much more glaringly exposed. Perhaps the most recognizable of them all may well be Muhammad Ali.
Fighting on beyond his prime and years . Those frailties were exposed for all to see. And all the more disheartening when he lost to fighters who were at best never in his class when he was in his prime . When Ali finally stepped away from the ring he was merely a shell of himself.
Which now me brings me to real point of this particular piece. In the upcoming MMA extravaganza of UFC 97Chuck Liddell once one of the golden boys of the sport will meet Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in a light heavyweight bout at the Bell Center in Montreal, Canada, this Saturday. Though not the main attraction on the card which is headed by the bout between Anderson Silva and Thales Leites in a highly anticipated middleweight clash. Two exponents who are at the top of their game at this moment in time . Liddell the alltime biggest draw for UFC in terms of revenues attained via PPV.
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For him it’ll be the fight that will either make or break his long and distinguished career. By no way stretch of the imagination a loss at this juncture for Liddell will almost certainly mean an end to his career. There’ll be nowhere but down to go from here with a loss. However a win would place back amongst the upper echelons of elite fighters within the light heavyweight division. Where it can be said there are a plethora of top class fighters all looking to sit atop of the pile.
And with Rashad Evans installed as the lightheavyweight champion looking to secure a long tenure of the title as champion. It can be said that he’d be more than willing to face any and all who prepared to challenge the title holder. He’s never been know to sherk what he feels are his responsibilities as champion. He wants to viewed as the people’s champion and not just another fighter who’s been adorned with a title.
President Dania White he views this whole event as just another slice in an already diminishing piece of the pie from which the mixed martial art’s genre has taken away from the fans of the sport of boxing. With each show promoted under the UFC banner trademark. Even less is left for the fans of the once much heralded sport. So much so that in the last four years MMA has outstripped the gross revenues of boxing here in North America. And much of that is due to the fact that boxing as a sport is now devoid of real stars that resonate with the fans. And within the division once viewed as the bastion of the sport. The heavyweight division has become the laughing stock of the world . And with there being no end in sight as to the fact there isn’t a undisputed champion within the division. It leaves the world looking elsewhere for their gratification.
Saturday night’s event no doubt will be something that even the most ardent fans of the sport are looking forward to. And as much as we all appreciate a good fight. Shoould the bout between Liddell and Rua be anything but that . Then at least the bulk of the fight card will offer us something meaningful. Other fighters featured will be Krzystzof Sozynski versus Brian Stann. We also have Cheick Kongo facing Antoni Hardonk, Steve Cantwell versus Luiz Cane . The full card is filled with up and coming stars as well as seasoned veterans of the sport.
If there’s one thing that we know it is that Liddell come out looking to dictate the pace of the bout. Rua for his part will not let that happen under any juncture. They both know that their best showing will be what the fans above all else will be looking for. Leites may well be the slight favorite in the bout. But that may well count for nothing at all , when one considers what’s at stake.
Nothing would delight the fans more to see Liddell be triumphant . And for Dana White who has indicated that should Liddell lose the bout . He can see the fighter walk way from the sport and off into retirement. For Rua a loss at this stage of his career won’t bring about an immediate end to his career. But it would certainly lower his profile as one of the marquee names within the division. A win would raise his profile even more and give him a greatr chance of being the next challenger for Evans’ lightheavyweight title belt. Liddell would like nothing better himself than being the main antagonist in derailing Rua’s hopes . And then place himself as the main challenger to Rashad Evans.
Whatever the end result may well be this Saturday within the Bell Center in Toronto. One can be sure that the fans in attendance and those watching via PPV won’t be starved of entertainment value or excitement. Such is the action within the world of mixed martial arts. It’ the sport for those who just want allout none stop action. Which is more than can be said from what we’re now witnessing within the sport of boxing. It’s not that it has become archaic . It is merely that the desire that the fans once had for the sport is no longer there. Boxing has shot itself in the foot repeatedly and has yet to realize that by not making itself more amenable to the fans. It’s now losing much if its appeal as the genre of MMA has caught on not just with young male but also amongst females as well.Those demographics alone is enough a solid foundation for MMA to build on over the coming years. And White as well his stable of fighters have gone out and made themselves all the more accessible to the fans at large.