When the January 2016 issue of The Ring arrives next month, it will feature Ronda Rousey on the cover. She is only the second woman to get this honor in the boxing magazine’s 93-year history. Rousey is also the first MMA fighter to be showcased, and that’s essentially the rub.
Well, it wasn’t exactly my decision to have her on there but I think I can figure it out. Rousey made the cover of The Ring for the same reason Robert De Niro (in the role of Jake LaMotta from the film Raging Bull) graced the cover way back in 1981: she’s a bona-fide celebrity and she’s got a connection to boxing. She’s not a boxer, but neither was/is De Niro.
I don’t know if fans were in an uproar over Bobby being on the cover, but it’s conceivable that some were upset about it. (In fact, I recall reading a letter from a fan who was miffed about it in a later issue. Yes, I’ve been reading Ring since 1980.) The issue that featured De Niro on the cover, the February 1981 edition, was the first Ring mag to come out after the Roberto Duran–Sugar Ray Leonard rematch.
Fischer writes that he personally would only have a problem with the January 2016 cover if it was bumping some legitimate, in-the-moment pugilist. But he argues there is no such current fighter and that the idea of yet another Mayweather or Pacquiao cover is tired. Read his full take here.
Update (November 15):
It was a sideline topic of discussion between Lenny Fresquez and reporter Ariel Helwani in the immediate wake of Holly Holm’s resounding UFC victory over Rousey in Melbourne. But Fresquez, Holm’s longtime manager, says it should have been her on the cover of The Ring:
“That really upset me. Because Holly is the best boxer of all time, going in [to Melbourne] trying to make history. Ronda’s never even been in a boxing match. Holly should have been on that cover.”
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Australia Shakes Things Up With Second Gender-Bending Magazine Cover