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Published:August 28th, 2009 16:40 EST
Showmanship in Boxing, Is It Necessary?

Showmanship in Boxing, Is It Necessary?

By Joey Liam

Boxing, also known as the Sweet Science, has produced some of the best showmen with unrivaled fighting skills in the sport over the years: From Muhammad Ali`s crazy shuffle, Naseem Hamed`s flying acrobats, Floyd Mayweather`s amazing shoulder roll defense, to Manny Pacquiao`s confusing kamikaze style of attack, boxing is never short of gifted pugilists. Although boxers who display showmanship in the ring are exciting to watch, still nothing beats the frightening spectacle of victories won by pure knockout artists like Manny Pacquiao and Edwin Valero. Unlike many showboating, feather-fisted fighters, these two warriors destroy every opponent that they come across in the square circle.

Showmanship has its advantages and disadvantages in boxing. A boxer can have all the great moves and techniques in fighting but if he does not possess knockout power, the X-factor, that can put people on their backs, he is just that-a showman. It will be difficult for such fighter to attain a following of magnitude proportion due to his lack of power: Majority of boxing fans prefer a dangerous puncher over a boring runner. As the maxim goes, a fighter with incredible knockout percentage always has a "puncher`s chance." When did you hear such foresight on a showboating clown with insignificant power?

There are special fighters who require no extraordinary stagecraft to be recognized as among the elites in boxing: Manny Pacquiao and Edwin Valero. The current pound for pound king, Manny Pacquiao, has taken the boxing world by storm. He started at 106 lbs. (light-flyweight) and now fighting at 140 lbs. (junior-welterweight), gathering six belts in six different divisions along the way. His next fight will be against the current WBO welterweight champion Miguel Angel Cotto of Puerto Rico at a catchweight of 145 lbs. If Pacquiao beats Cotto for his welterweight title, that will make the Pacman the only fighter in the entire boxing history to hold seven titles in seven different divisions. What is even more marvelous is that he has done all these things without splendid showmanship.

Edwin Valero holds a record of 25 wins, all coming by way of knockout, and no defeat. He is the current WBC lightweight champion of the world. Like Pacquiao, Valero`s southpaw stance is a difficult puzzle to solve for his opponents. His rugged style of fighting is far less enticing compared to the stylistic craft of former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Valero is no showman and yet, he is an undefeated world champion.

Boxing will thrive for generations to come whether fighters exhibit showmanship or not. Styles make fights so many more boxers will emerge to showcase their honed skills and innate power, but not necessarily their stagecraft. Long live the Sweet Science of sports!