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What’s the Price of Copper Have to Do With the Future of Boxing?

Apparently, quite a bit, at least in Detroit.

The price of copper has risen 56 percent this year, probably due in large part to construction demand in China. The high price of copper has led to an increase in people breaking into construction sites and even homes to steal copper pipes.

In Detroit, someone stole the copper pipes from the famous old Kronk Gym, where Thomas Hearns and many, many others have trained. The cost of replacing the pipes and fixing the plumbing was so great that the gym has been shut down, probably for good.

There is, however, a bright side to the high cost of scrap metal. Someone in the recycling business told me recently that backyards all over New England are looking better than they’ve looked in years — because all the rusty old farm equipment has been gathered up and sold for scrap.

So if you’re a New England leaf-peeper, you have reason to be happy about the Chinese appetite for construction metals. If you’re a fan of Detroit boxing, however, you may not be so happy. But at least you can be thankful that you’re not in charge of the budget for the 2012 Olympics in London. Thanks in large part to higher steel prices, the cost of the games has recently increased by roughly 40 percent.