According to former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, the current generation of boxers have a lack of personalities - and that factor has contributed to its decline.
Tyson, who was in Mumbai to promote the launch of the Kumite 1 League mixed martial arts competition, told reporters late on Friday that he would be a rarity if he boxed today.
“It’s just different because they are not the big personalities,” said the 52-year-old when asked why boxing’s popularity declined after the 80s.
“Most of the (current) fighters are very straightforward guys. They are real nice guys and they are good individuals.
“I was always in trouble. I was always here and there so that’s why I was always in the papers and that’s why it’s different. These are really straight gentlemen guys. I was really wild and a young kid getting into trouble.”
Earlier this week, HBO shocked the industry when it announced their decision to drop live boxing from its programming schedule, ending a 45-year association with the sport starting from 1973.
Boxing has received stiff competition from mixed martial arts - specifically from the UFC, which became extremely popular with younger fans of combat sports.
Tyson said he enjoyed last year’s cross-sport boxing match between undefeated multi-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr and the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Conor McGregor. Mayweather stopped McGregor in the tenth round.
“I go to the UFC all the time,” he said. “That was a good fight. I was entertained.”
With HBO gone, there are other networks leading the way. Showtime has been growing at a vast rate in recent years - which many believe was a big contributing factor to HBO's demise. And ESPN has a multi-year deal with Top Rank, while Eddie Hearn's Matchroom has an eight year deal with streaming service DAZN. Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions has signed multi-year deals, to provide content, to both Showtime and FOX.