There is a current negative spotlight on football as reports from former players suffering from memory failure, depression, loss of impulse control, and other signs of diminished mental capacity abound. But we have been here before. Back in the day, boxing was known as the sweet science. Millions of devoted fans followed the sport. But then, with a series of deaths, comas, and other physical tragedies (not to mention crooked managers), the fight game’s hold on American culture began to loosen. And in time many began to condemn the sport as just plain brutal.

Although fading and its significance diminished, boxing is still with us. In the Center’s study of sports fan behavior and media use, which surveyed Americans aged 15 to 74 who follow at least one sport in season, boxing was overall the eighth most popular sport with 20% of respondents saying they followed it.

Who is more likely to be a fan of boxing?  How is this fandom affected by gender, race/ethnicity, age, education, and region of the country?


Males are more likely than females to be fans. Twenty-four percent of males versus only 15% of females said that they were followers.


African-Americans (36%) and Latinos (33%) are more likely than Asians (23%) and whites (15%) to follow boxing.


Those aged 18-24 (27%), 25-34 (25%), and 35-54 (22%), are more likely than those aged 65-74 (14%), 55-64 (13%), and younger than 18 (13%) to be fans.


High school graduates (27%) and those with some college or an associate’s degree (21%) are more likely than college graduates (17%) and those with post-graduate degrees (10%) to follow the sport.


And those living in the Northeast (24%) and the South (21%) are more likely than those in the West (19%) and the Midwest (15%).



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April 22, 2019