|Interview with Don Omega of YouTube's 'Boxing 4 Real'
Review by Dan Horgan (March 2, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
The Internet has revolutionized the fight game, particularly its media. Boxing coverage is no longer limited to newspapers, magazines, and television broadcasts; now, fans can get their pugilistic fix online from a myriad of sources.
Perhaps the most popular of those sources is Youtube.com, a video sharing site owned by Google that gets roughly 100 million hits a day. Since its inception in early 2005, YouTube has become a cultural phenomenon, attracting people from all over the world by hosting copious videos on nearly any subject -- including boxing. YouTube
hosts hundreds of thousands of boxing videos, including fights, fighter training camps, and fan analyses.
YouTube has become so popular that many fight fans have used it as a forum to start their own webcasts. Perhaps drawing inspiration from Doug Fischer and Steve Kim of Maxboxing.com's show, "The Next Round", boxing aficionados are getting together in front of digital camcorders to share their thoughts with the fight world. And many shows are becoming quite popular.
Perhaps the two most prominent analysts on YouTube are Don Omega and a man dubbed "Iron Truth", who over a year and a half ago started a webcast entitled, "Boxing 4 Real". The two South Carolina based fans have had millions of views of their show, and their predictions and analysis have gained both praise and criticism from fight fans all over the world.
Omega and Iron Truth started the show after the June, 2006 light-heavyweight title fight between Bernard Hopkins and Antonio Tarver. Omega, a former boxing scribe and forum poster, was tired of his opinions not mattering in the world of pugilism.
"When I would say something on a forum," Omega told Doghouseboxing.com, "only five or six people would read it. One day when I was on YouTube, I saw a man post his predictions [on upcoming fights], and I thought that YouTube would be a great tool to share my views."
Omega and Iron Truth soon began putting out several shows a week. Through the fast Internet word of mouth, the pair gained thousands of new viewers monthly and became the staple for many fans' boxing needs. But with all success comes odium. Omega and Iron Truth were called everything from "dumb rednecks" to "shaped crackers with no boxing experience" by some viewers of their show.
"Boxing is a very emotional and individualistic sport," Omega explained. "Fans have their favor fighters they like to follow and they don't respond well criticism [of their favorites]. That's just the nature of the sport."
Without a doubt, "Boxing 4 Real" will go down as one of the first prominent Internet boxing shows. Omega and Iron Truth's YouTube channel gets 50-60 thousand views a month, and those numbers are likely to increase with time. Omega credits the Internet with boxing's recent popularity surge.
"The Internet has absolutely helped boxing," he said. "Boxing culture lives on the Internet now. Instead of reading just The Ring magazine which is usually out of date, fans can now get every day updates. Also, thanks to YouTube, fans can see fights they would never have seen otherwise."
So what future plans do Omega and Iron Truth have for the show?
"I'd like to put the show on its own website," said Omega. "We could start our own forum where people could comment on the show and about boxing. It would be good for the haters too because they like to comment so much."
Omega is currently taking HTML classes to improve his site making skills.
Without a doubt, "Boxing 4 Real" has left a big mark on the boxing world. Hard-core fans will continue to either love the show or hate it, but isn't that what makes boxing interesting?
Author's note: I fully endorse both Omega and Iron Truth and their efforts. The two know boxing, and their taped conversations do the most important thing boxing journalists can do: stimulate discussion.
Dan Horgan's book, "Bringing Back Boxing" is available for purchase. To find out about the book, go to myspace.com/boxingbook; to purchase it go to http://www.lulu.com/content/1499553.
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