The latest former somebody to get their rear handed to them in the ring was Major League Baseball power hitter Jose Canseco. Known in his heyday for pummeling the baseball, Canseco earned even more notoriety in 2005 when he admitted to using steroids. Of course, this was no surprise to anyone who had ever seen a picture of him, however the admission torpedoed his career and chances of doing anything baseball related in his post-player career.
So with his prospects dwindling, Canseco turned to boxing as a money-making endeavor, much to the surprise and chagrin of anyone still paying attention to him. He challenged former NFL player Vai Sikahema to a boxing match in Atlantic City. Before the fight, Canseco claimed to have received a black belt in Kung Fu and Taekwondo, elements that, combined with his seven inch height advantage over Sikahema, seemed to guarantee his victory – at least in his mind.
In the first round, Sikahema knocked Canseco out.
Yet this didn’t stop the former slugger in his quest for boxing fame, as he continues to solicit fights with whoever will listen to him long enough to consider it. His latest fight against child star Danny Bonaduce in 2009 ended in a draw. Canseco has also tried his hand at MMA training, fighting in the Dream 9 competition where he lost in the first round against Hong Man Choi.
The cautionary tale of Canseco really illuminates the issue of D-List celebrities trying to earn their daily bread, duking it out with other has-beens in the ring. There are so many things wrong with it that it is hard to know where to start. Aside from the safety concerns and lack of training, there is a strong sense of disrespect for a serious sport happening here.
The fact that someone like Canseco (or even Danny Bonaduce for that matter) feel that they can just step into the ring with dubious prior experience and make money at it suggests that they may think boxing doesn’t require training and talent. That all you need to succeed is dumb luck and power. However, all you have to do is ask the most casual boxing fan what they think of the sport and they will remark on the technical expertise needed to compete seriously.
While it is great that former stars are trying to find inventive ways to earn them G’s, the truth is celebrity boxing is not the best – or most respectable – way to do so. While many people like the idea of seeing Canseco knocked around a bit, it is not worth the degradation it causes to a high class sport or the minds of the American public.
What do you think? Is Celebrity Boxing a fad that should wear out soon?