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UFC's Kamaru Usman calls boxing a 'dying sport' while pursuing Canelo Alvarez payday

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A bizarre series of social media call-outs and responses between UFC No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Kamaru Usman and No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer Canelo Alvarez has taken yet another odd turn.

The discussion began Wednesday when Usman's manager Ali Abdelaziz, seemingly out of nowhere, called Alvarez "an absolute chicken" and accused him of fighting no-name boxers while ducking Usman of all people. We should note that is an absolutely laughable statement considering Alvarez has fought to win (not retain, win) a title belt in nine of his last 10 fights. The one in which he merely retained his belts was a mandatory challenger.

Alvarez, understandably, responded with a "Who the f*** is this," followed by Usman saying someone could get hurt. Alvarez said it wouldn't be him, at which point Usman said he would fight the boxer "in the cage or the ring."

Again, let us consider we are talking about Alvarez, who has spent the last year and a half mowing down the entire spectrum of super middleweight belt-holders, and Usman, whose striking power ranks well among MMA fights but has always been known more for his grappling prowess.

At this point, Alvarez just seems confused. He asks for Usman to confirm he's actually calling him out, assumes it's for a payday (not an unfair assumption), then preemptively tells him to wait his turn. Alvarez is currently scheduled to face WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May.

Usman takes the response as some kind of surrender and declares victory. Sure.

This was already a McGregor level of delusion displayed by Usman, who, to recap, had his manager call arguably the most aggressive fight-booker in the boxing industry a chicken for supposedly ducking a mixed martial artist, then took said boxer saying he was too busy preparing to jump a weight class and fight a WBA champion as proof he was afraid of "a real fight."

Then things got even weirder on Thursday, when Usman responded to Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza laughing at him by declaring boxing a "dying sport." That would be boxing, the sport Usman had been trying to sweatily tweet his way into no fewer than 24 hours ago.

He also urged the boxing industry to take notes from UFC president Dana White, who is consistently accused of underpaying fighters, on how to fix the sport.

Look, you know an argument has gotten weird when Jake Paul is jumping in to make the salient point.

Usman isn't exactly wrong that boxing is in decline from its heyday or has its issues. It is and it does. He and his manager are just completely, comically wrong if they think Alvarez, who received $40 million plus a PPV cut in his last fight, is struggling for money or reputation. Maybe they were inspired by the Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou "hybrid" fight, who knows?

It is definitely worth noting here that an Alvarez-Usman fight wouldn't just be the most lucrative fight of Usman's career. It would probably earn Usman more money in one night than he has earned in his MMA career (the reported payout for his last fight: $1.5 million).

Unfortunately for Usman, boxing is not in decline in a way that necessitates an Alvarez-Usman fight right now.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 04: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman interacts with fans during a Q&A session prior to the UFC 272 ceremonial weigh-in at UFC T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Kamaru Usman wants that boxing payday. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)