Bill de Blasio talks boxing, MMA

September, 9, 2013
9/09/13
2:09
PM ET
Tuesday is an election day in New York City, as voters can cast a ballot in the party primaries.

For the big seat, the Mayor's chair, Brooklyn resident Bill de Blasio is ahead in the polls. Voters consider different criteria, of course, but I thought some of you, like me, might like to know what the man who could well be the head of NYC's executive branch, the 109th mayor of the Big Apple, thinks about boxing.

So, I cornered the 52-year-old de Blasio on Saturday afternoon and queried the man as he attempted to entice voters near the entrance to J.J. Byrne Playground on Fifth Ave. in Park Slope.

Does he like boxing, I wondered?

"In truth, it's not my sport," de Blasio said. "I'm big into baseball, big into football. Boxing's not my thing, honestly." De Blasio, who grew up in Cambridge, Mass., is a Red Sox rooter, it turns out.

What about, say, Muhammad Ali? Watch him growing up?

"I appreciate Ali as a historical figure, a hundred percent, I appreciate what he achieved, and I respect it, but it's just not my sport," he said.

I informed de Blasio about the burgeoning fistic scene we have going on in New York, what with regular fight cards being held at Barclays Center and at Madison Square Garden. Could we see a Mayor de Blasio attending a card, maybe to see Manhattan's Peter Quillin, the WBO middleweight champion, if he were to headline at Barclays?

"It's just not my thing, I'm happy to see the Barclays Center doing well, in general, but it just isn't the thing I put my time into," he said.

What about mixed martial arts? Would de Blasio support the New York State Assembly voting to make professional MMA legal, paving the way for UFC to promote events in the city? Yea or nay on that?

"I'm nay on that, honestly, for a variety of reasons I don't think we need that in New York," he said.

I pressed for the primary reason.

"I think there's symbolism in terms of violence and certainly some allegations of other types of things, messages sent that I think is unhelpful, wouldn't be the thing that I want to see," he said, in closing, as an aide requested I wrap things up.

So there you go ... If being pro-pugilism and MMA is your litmus test for a mayor, you will not be pulling the lever for de Blasio. But you gotta give the man credit for not pandering.

Follow Woods on Twitter.
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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