Monday, October 17, 2016
Mr. Hopkins Is On Point
Claressa Shields is FINALLY on the front cover of The Ring magazine. She should have been featured there four years ago when she received her first Olympic gold medal.
Before the article about Ms. Shields, there is an excellent opinion piece by Bernard Hopkins entitled "Boxing Is Losing Black Kids". He hit on most of the things that frustrate me as an amateur boxing coach -- unmotivated, soft, and undisciplined youths; lack of support for amateur boxing programs, especially from parents and guardians; the closing of amateur boxing programs; youths being lured away by football, basketball, and dreams of being rappers. He could have also added the problem of youths confusing professional wrestling and MMA with boxing. They know more about what's going on in the WWE and the UFC than they do about professional boxing.
Mr. Hopkins stated that he did not believe that boxing would ever go back to the time of having "multiple African-American superstar fighters after this current generation". Unfortunately, the man is probably right. Boxing has fallen out of favor not only with Black youths but with all American youths in general. The field house I work in sits in an area populated by both Black and Latino youths. Gentrification is slowly creeping in, and I've seen some white people occupying some properties nearby. But getting any of those youths, regardless of their ethnicity, to sign up for the boxing program and stick with it is a hard task.
The situation is enough for any amateur boxing coach to want to throw the towel in. It is only the love of the sport and the fact that sometimes we get one or two kids who are really interested that keeps most of us around.