QUOTE (Jack 1000 @ Jul 11 2009, 02:03 PM)
I do however believe that boxing does not have the big superstars that it once had to transcend its interest from hard core fans back to mainstream public. In addition, too many PPV's and fights being forced onto HBO and Showtime. If the general public doesn't want to fork over $50 for the average PPV fight or pay $12-15/month for HBO or Showtime, they get screwed out of seeing the live boxing. I wonder if in today's harsh economy, if PPV is still the big bonanza that some promoters think it is? Showtime Championship Boxing has moved away from PPV in recent years and has done very well. Therefore, because general public people who have limited perception or knowledge of the sport don't have the guys to follow, and don't want to pay the extra money for premium cable, they come to the belief that "boxing is dying." Boxing isn't dying, but it has changed its marketability making it less affordable and accessible for the common man.
Boxing isn't dying, but we need a jumpstart in mainstream media.
There are good fights out there, accessible to anyone with cable. For instance, think back to the Darnell Wilson-Emmanuel Nwodo fight. What drama! Great fight, HUGE knockout (I thought Nwodo was dead), and on ESPN2, no less. Last night's FNF had a nice back and forth battle with Chris Henry and Shaun George (who did a mental 180 faster than anyone I've seen in a while). Unfortunately, the really big fights aren't even replayed on free TV anymore, at least not in a reasonable time frame. Think about it... there was a time when your huge fights were aired live on PPV or closed circuit, replayed on HBO or a similar medium, and THEN replayed on free TV (ABC/CBS). Now? You might get an ESPN Classic replay 5 years after the fact, complete with Bob friggin' Sheridan's crappy solo call of the action. It's not necessarily accessibility because it's there.... it's VISIBILITY. Make it easy, make it simple, make it appealing.
Networks really need to open their eyes. What would do better ratings for ESPN? Showing ANOTHER World Series of Poker 2002 replay on ESPN2 on Saturday, or a replay of the big PPV that aired two weeks earlier? I bet it's the boxing PPV, especially if their rebroadcast agreement included their own audio call with their own broadcasters. Better still, why not double or triple the budget for Friday Night Fights and get some bigger fights on the network? I mean, if they can get an occasional title fight (Urango/Ngoudjo, etc.) with this budget, amp it up a little, help the sport, and really get things going on their airwaves. Especially during the summer, instead of airing ridiculous reruns that do horrible ratings and just eat their way through budgets, why can't a network air a live title fight on a Saturday night not previously occupied by HBO or Showtime? ABC/NBC/CBS are obviously not going to get a fight with a purse for each fighter of 8 digits, but they can swing an important title fight and a co-feature with no problem. Mosley-Margarito was great... and that card would have been well within the reach of a network's budget. Same for Cotto-Clottey.
Free TV visibility is what turned UFC into a monster. If boxing can get back to its roots in that regard, there's no reason why we can't see another resurgence.
A final point: if, if, if, if, if, if, if, if, if, if, if the Tyson fight in the fall rumor is actually true, against that crappy Serbian, put THAT fight on network TV and the ratings would be absolutely insane. Think about it...