by Rich Klein
In many ways, I am a sports and a hobby dinosaur. I grew up in an era were great boxing matches were frequently featured live on Network TV. Some of those fights would be on Saturday afternoons during programs such as Wide World of Sports or the CBS Sports Spectacular. Remember? Others, especially fights involving Muhammad Ali, would be on network prime time or often on closed circuit TV--the decidedly less convenient version of Pay Per View.
There is something so elemental about two fighters leaving a piece of themselves in the ring fighting not only for money but also for the cheers of the crowd. Many times when a fight is on the line going into the final round, both fighters make a valiant attempt to finish strong to win the fight and show such incredible heart and stamina during that process. One of my favorite examples of the final round battles is the 12th round between James "Lights Out" Toney and Vassily Jirov.
Not much new has been out there for boxing collectors since the 1990s. Creative Cardboard Concepts has brought boxing back lately with the latest edition to their stable--a new product called Ringside Boxing Round 2. The follow-up to a product that ended a 15-year drought for boxing cards in the hobby is of the high end variety, offering just eight cards per box. Each box contains three base cards, three "Turkey Red" insert cards, one memorabilia card and one autograph card. The boxes are currently selling from leading on-line retailers at the $100-110 per box range, thanks in large part to the guaranteed autograph.
The base set consists of 100 cards. There are five subsets, including extremely limited gold and 1/1 onyx versions, along with single, double, triple and quad memorabilia cards, Ringside Seat Authentic Fight Tickets, cut signature cards and more--with each variety having parallel versions. There is one Muhammad Ali box topper per case.
While the audience for boxing cards may not be as large as it is for the four major sports, the one thing some collectors like is that there are no competing products, leaving you free to delve into this product without worrying about whether there's something else better coming down the pike. Of course, that also means there is no real competition, which can impact the quality of some products.
Our Base Cards: were Michael Moorer (The first left handed boxer to win a heavyweight title);
James Toney and Michael Moorer Victorious Subset card
The Turkey Red Cards were: Antonio Tarver, Michael Moorer and Ezzard Charles
Four Your Country Memorabilia Swatch (Silver, print run to 100) Ricky Hatton
Autograph Card (Silver, print run to 100) James Toney
Getting three different Michael Moorer cards was a bit odd and some collectors aren't sold on the product, but for a boxing fan like me, this was a real neat trip down memory lane and getting a memorabilia card of the fighter who forced the legendary HOFer Kostya Tszyu into retirement as well as a signed card of future HOFer James Toney made this a real fun box to open.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]