Convicted Artist Magazine

Sep 26th
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network-television-boxingI know we were all supposed to rejoice at the return of boxing to network television.  I know we were all supposed to be thrilled that Al Haymon officially becoming a promoter meant his best fighters would now be facing each other.  I, however, am not nearly as impressed now that we are over a year out from boxing's biggest takeover.  To be honest, I was expecting more, expecting different, expecting less... depending on what we are talking about.

Before I list the problems I am having with the Premiere Boxing Champions series, I'd like to congratulate the company on a few victories.  We did get fights like Broner-Porter, Garcia-Peterson, Mares-Santa Cruz, Quillin-Jacobs, and soon we will get Porter-Thurman. We also saw boxing invade more networks than ever before.  We also saw the sanctioning bodies devalued.  However, here is a short list of issues the boxing fans are having with the new boxing television landscape.

Commentating - The commentating on most PBC cards, to put it bluntly, is terrible.  Corporate yes-men trying desperately to sell us non-competitive fights.  Part of the problem is the lack of experience, while most of it is the fact that they are using fighters who are new to commentating, and pairing them with seasoned broadcasters who are new to boxing. This leaves us with the blind leading the blind, live and in living color.  Passionate writers/fans who have stories, and love the sport, would do a better job.  The internet writing world is loaded with them.  Steve Kim, Doug Fischer... bring these guys back and ditch the broadcast team.

Waiting too long - We did get some big fights, but we also still have to wait a long time for them.  Thurman wasted yet another year, as did Wilder.  If we want the to mean less to fans, Haymon is absolutely no help.  He seems uninterested in risking any of his undefeated fighters, until he is officially losing money on them, after which it may be too late.

Not that much network - For all the hype, there have only been a handful of CBS, NBC etc fight cards.  Most of them are on FS1, Spike, and ESPN2 like before.  Only difference is that now it is almost always showcase fights that follow the same pattern: one-sided poundings that go the distance, between unbeaten fighters and hapless journeyman.

Bucking unnecessary traditions - I like the minimizing of sanctioning bodies, but explanations of them at least need to be had, so people know why you keep referring to everyone as "champion" or "former champion".  It leaves fans in the dark, as opposed to confused.  Different, but not better.  And ring announcers were a fine nuance of the sport.  Their appearance did not need to be removed.  It's a bizarre detachment that makes it look like decisions being announced are not going to be trustworthy.

Friday Night Fights - We were supposed to get 11 ESPN cards.  I only remember 3.  With the new commentators being such yes-men, it was even more necessary to hear Teddy Atlas' truth-telling.  The FNF series is sorely missed by those who wanted competitive fights, highlight reel knockouts, and unbiased commentating.  Haymon's worst offense is killing this brand.

Cold War is back on - Now Arum and Oscar are doing business again, but neither does much with Haymon.  This creates a shutdown in many of boxing's best divisions, including Featherweight and Junior Welterweight.  They got together for Mayweather-Pacquiao, but not again in the 9 months since.

I, for one, hope that some new kid on the block forces their way into television networks to give PBC a run for their money.  Top Rank seems intent on making the same mistakes that PBC is with their Unimas and Tru-TV cards, and even HBO has become something of a showcase network.  Ultimately the power comes to the fans to stay home and not support the monopolies.  GGG and Kovalev are being ducked left right and center... and until men like DLH, Arum, and Haymon cannot earn money without facing them, this will continue.

Chris Strait

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