Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs in the ring, 1-2 in elections) has officially declared that he’ll run for the Ukraine presidency in 2015. This follows a stint in the country’s parliament and the creation of his own political party, the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform — UDAR, or “punch”, in Ukrainian — which now holds 42 parliamentary seats, good for the third highest total for any of the country’s parties and an overall 9.5 percent share.
If speculation proves correct, then boxing legend Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs in the ring, 1-1 in elections) will run to become president of the Philippines in 2022. That would mean that two of boxing’s most well known champions of the past decade could become the pound-for-pound political heads of their countries, although Vitali would need to be reelected in 2020 to be concurrent with Pacquiao.
These aren’t two small or remote nations, either. The Philippines has a population of 98 million, and Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, has a population of 45 million, making them the 12th and 29th most populous countries in the world. That means that Pacquiao and Klitschko would become major global political players.
Two former boxers serving as the president of their countries, maybe even at the same time, would be quite an accomplishment for a sport whose athletes are often stereotypically regarded as thugs in the United States.
But could this spark a trend? What if boxers ruled the world?
Corruption? Not so much.
Boxing is a corrupt sport, but nobody hates that corruption more than the fighters themselves. In fact, Klitschko’s UDAR party is founded on anti-corruption principles.
Who do you think has exposed the corruption and fraud of promoters and managers? Fighters who got the shakedown, or the short end of the stick, that’s who. And what did some of those fighters do next? Form their own promotional companies, to better serve the real needs of fighters, as was the case with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, and now Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions.
A world ruled by boxers would, as Klitschko has already proven, would seek to weed out the corruption.
Only Serve the 1%? The opposite.
Top-flight boxers very much represent the “dreaded 1%”, but that doesn’t mean they support those interests. Unlike one-percenters in the real world, boxers who have reached that pinnacle of accomplishment and wealth have taken a long and arduous road, and have seen many of their own fall by the waysides, hardly scraping by, or not all, as they have succeeded.
More often than not, boxers had to claw their way up from poverty, and literally fight themselves into a brighter future. Unlike the silver spoons which many politicians ate from, boxers understand what it’s like to be the “everyman” because they were the everyman, scrounging to make ends meet.
A world ruled by boxers would put the interests of the downtrodden, the suffering, those in need of the most assistance, ahead of all else.
Violence? Think again.
You may believe that a world ruled by boxers would descend into violence and quick, brutal confrontations which get quickly blown out of proportion based on any perceived slight. Ignoring the obvious point — that’s the way things are now — a world ruled by former boxing champions would be quite different.
Outside of the squared circle, boxers, by and large, are quite amendable folks. You don’t need to flaunt power or violence when you know you could actually wield it, right? They know the proper outlet and channel for that aggression and rage, and only call upon it in the right domain. Sounds like the perfect demeanor for a world super power.
Trash-talking between opposing nations may amusingly increase, but actual bloody wars and conflict? Only when the public absolutely demanded it!
So What’s the Downside?
Maybe as president of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao would only decide to enter negotiations with a neighboring country if very strict conditions were met that satisfy his own concerns. Maybe Vitali Klitschko would set up a few nice political “wins” and showcases for himself, to demonstrate his power and his status.
Wait a minute. These are the exact tricks and tactics that politicians use today! In other words, who’s better to become a political pound-for-pounder than a former boxer?
A world ruled by boxers would be less violent, would serve the majority, and would work to remove corruption, with a group of surprisingly politically-savvy individuals in charge of our best interests. Just, please, don’t put the promoters or the sanctioning bodies in charge of anything.
*This article was first published on Yahoo Sports on October 24, 2013.