Boxing has always been romanticized. Among the “major” sports in the US, only baseball is clearly more romanticized. Baseball has had more written about it, in service of making baseball seem more cerebral or more connected to its past or more interesting. Full disclosure: I enjoy baseball but talk of green cathedrals and the beauty of the untimed game are not interesting to me unless delivered by Annie Savoy.
Unlike baseball, boxing is a brutal and often corrupt sport. Instead of being run by billionaire franchise owners who value the appearance of fairness and legitimacy in pursuit of exploiting athletes for profit, boxing has no appearance of fairness. Boxing is controlled by promoters who decide the next fight not by a tournament or a set of statistics but instead based on what will generate the most money. (To be fair, there are governing bodies and there are sometimes mini-tournaments to determine who wins vacant titles but the governing bodies only control fringe aspects of fights and those mini-tournaments often feature boxers without the cachet to generate significant pay-per-view revenues.) Outcomes in fights that don’t end in knockouts are determined by three ringside judges who may or may not use factors other than what happened in the ring to calculate their scores. And, of course, fighters may decide to take a dive for various reasons.