Note: This story appears in the July 2011 issue of THE RING magazine, which is available now on newsstands or in our new digital format.
Every sport has its ebbs and flows. And if you’re a true fan of a given sport, you stick it out through the ebbs because you have faith that the flows are coming. For a sizable chunk of 2010, the sport was letting us down week after week. It was a rough spring. And a slow summer. And parts of the fall were shaky. The year finished reasonably strongly, however, and with quality fights on tap for 2011, there was some guarded optimism among fight fans. And wouldn’t you know, as we went to press in late-April, boxing is red-hot again, delivering such upsets, drama, and thrills that even Pardon The Interruption’s Tony Kornheiser has been forced to acknowledge the sport’s existence with a hint of positivity.
Of course, by the time you read this, the pendulum could have swung the other way again. We might have just endured a rip-off pay-per-view, an attractive fight falling apart at the negotiating table, something else that leaves us frustrated again. There is always another ebb coming. But if you’re a real fan, you know by now that you just have to ride it out.
At the risk of sounding like an ’80s TV theme song, you take the good, you take the bad, you take what’s left, and there you have “The State Of The Game.” In this annual section, we offer perspective on everything of note in the sport, the highs and the lows, from the heavyweights to the strawweights. We analyze each division, one by one, with an eye on what’s been going on over the past year and what we can look forward to in the immediate future. We take pride in putting together a massive section that is both enjoyable and informative to read in the moment, and can also be looked upon by future generations as a time capsule of what was going on in boxing in 2011. And we take additional pride in offering the only article in the world that finds a way to discuss both Albert Sosnowski and Oleydong Sithsamerchai before it’s over.
But before we dive headlong into Sosnowski, Sithsamerchai, and the rest, a couple of quick notes about the sidebars that you’ll see accompanying each division. First, “Most Avoided” can refer to either a fighter who has been avoided recently or one who we believe will be avoided starting now. And second, “Deserves a Title Shot” means different things in different divisions. In divisions with a Ring champion, the designation goes to whomever most deserves a Ring title shot, regardless of whether they already hold an alphabet title. In divisions without a Ring champion, we’ve named someone without an alphabet belt (yes, there are still a few such boxers out there) worthy of a shot at one.
(Note: This section is based on results through April 18, 2011.)
To continue reading this article from the June 2011 issue of THE RING magazine and receive more than 100 pages of additional boxing content, please click here to purchase a single copy of the new Ring Digital Edition for only $3.99 (55 percent off the cover price). Or you can subscribe to the Digital Edition by going to same link.