|Elite XC and UFC land Big Deals while Boxing Spins its Wheels
By Phil Santos, Overhandright.com (Feb 29, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
It was recently announced that Elite XC had inked a deal with CBS to broadcast its shows in prime time on Saturday nights and that the UFC has signed on with a monster sponsor in Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light. So MMA and UFC fans can now look forward to more televised action and the increased exposure that a premium sponsor can bring while boxing slips further into mainstream obscurity.
Ask anyone 28 years old and younger who Kimbo Slice, Randy Couture and Rampage Jackson are and most
likely you’ll get an answer. There are times when I’m just channel surfing and you can’t help but come across some sort of ultimate fighting and now they’re going to be on network TV?! What the hell! Where is boxing while all this is going on? Where are the fight promoters and marketing people when these sponsorship and network television deals are being signed? It’s disgusting.
I won’t pretend to be impartial, I’m a boxing guy. And this really kills me. The fact that these human cock fights are succeeding is good for them, seriously more power to them, but why does boxing continue to be left standing in the cold with a thumb stuck up its ass?
Unless you have HBO and Showtime, which not everyone does, the only boxing that mainstream viewers are exposed to is ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. Now I don’t want to knock ESPN because I think it’s great that they put fights on but to be honest you very rarely, if ever, see elite level fighters on their fight cards. ESPN is more of a jumping off point for young fighters in order to get exposure and land bigger fights and paydays on HBO and Showtime.
Bottom line once you have made it as a fighter you aren’t fighting on ESPN. That brings us right back to square one.
So the public perception of what boxing is all about is seen through a washed up Zab Judah or an over hyped Darnell Wilson. Guys like Sechew Powell and Allan Green just don’t inspire the type of fan following that boxing needs to place itself back on the map. Meanwhile some truly entertaining fighters like Rafael Marquez, Israel Vazquez, Manny Pacquiao, Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Cotto remain unknown to anyone who isn’t a hardcore fight fan.
What ESPN is doing is good for boxing if, and only if, the people involved in boxing can score a network deal. It has been talked about for years and now is the time to shut up and act on it. Boxing needs a network deal! NBC, ABC, FOX anybody come on lets get this done.
UFC and MMA are not taking over the youth market because it is better or more exciting than boxing it’s just more accessible plain and simple. Have you ever watched a UFC fight? They can be just as, if not more, dull as an uneventful boxing match. In fact I have given Ultimate Fighting many chances to entertain me and every time its come up short. What I have seen is ground fighting, grappling, choke holds and very little action. Pretty boring if you ask me even with Joe Rogan giving all the garbage going on in the octagon technical terms.
If boxing fails to wake up and put it premier fighters in front of a prime time audience than the future of the sport I love appears very bleak. 2007 brought great match ups and an outstanding year for fight fans now let’s hope 2008 can bring some hope in the battle for exposure that our sport is badly losing to the UFC and MMA.
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