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RIP Greg Page and Boxing


I was very saddened to hear about the recent death of former WBA Heavyweight Champion Greg Page. Now I’m not one of those people that are often saddened to hear about the death of people they don’t know personally, but this – and the death of Anna Nicole Smith – are exceptions.

Greg Page had the potential to be a great fighter, but that isn’t why I’m sad.

Greg Page was only 50 years old, but that isn’t why I’m sad.

Greg Page lived his remaining 8 years with very limited quality of life, again not why I’m sad.

Now I don’t mean to sound cold here, but the reason for my sadness is that his death wasn’t a bigger news item. Don’t get me wrong, my heart goes out to his wife and family, but as a long time boxing fan I’m sad that this wasn’t big news.

In 1982 – just two years before Page would reign as heavyweight champion – when boxing was much more popular – Duk-Koo Kim died following a match against Ray Mancini — and it was major news. Granted, it was a televised fight and Kim died just days after the fight, so I understand the difference, but Kim’s death lead to calls for boxing to be abolished and resulted in the reduction of championship distances from 15 rounds to 12 rounds and other additional safeguards. It was THE NEWS of the day.

The tragic boxing-injury-related death of a one-time heavyweight champion that was once considered the heir apparent to Muhammad Ali should have been bigger news, but the fact that is warranted all of two sentenced in Sports Illustrated highlights just how far boxing has fallen in the public consciousness. (NOTE: in defense of SI, the mag did run a longer AP version of Page’s death in the online version)

 

Like many former boxing fans, I’ve long ago embraced MMA as its favorite fighting sport, but I’m still sad to see that even the critics of the sport don’t care enough to find Page’s death newsworthy.

While honestly never a big fan of Page’s, his record reads like a whos who of the heavyweight division. With the exception of Larry Holmes, Page was one of the most talented fighters of the era and could have been a dominant champion, but instead he was just one of the many decent fighters to briefly hold a portion of the alphabet soup titles. He never lived up to his potential, which is sad, but that his death wasn’t bigger news is tragic.

RIP Greg Page and boxing.

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