Don’t Believe The Hype: HBO’s Latest Illusion
Don’t Believe The Hype: HBO’s Latest Illusion
By Jason Petock, Doghouse Boxing (April 8, 2013) Doghouse Boxing (Chris Farina / Top Rank)
Zou Shimng
It’s no secret that since Golden Boy Promotions parted ways with HBO that the network has been scrambling everywhere for their next big thing. Enter 32 year old flyweight Chinese Olympian Zou Shiming (1-0), who has been training under the tutelage of Freddie Roach at Wild Card Gym recently. With Shiming’s raw and unmemorable latest decision win in his televised professional debut over Eleazar Valenzuela (2-2-2, 1 KO), HBO would have you believe that Shiming is the next breakout star destined for huge things. Roach told the press that Zou will be ready for a Championship within a year’s time. Sounds far fetched? Of course it does, because it is.

The network had the audacity to not only broadcast Shiming’s 4 round professional debut (that’s right, a four rounder as the main event), but tried to sell Shiming’s debut and appearance as the greatest thing since sliced bread this side of the Atlantic. Nice try. There are scores of up-and-coming fighters who not only deserve far more press, but also the opportunity at a $300,000 payday (or was it $500,000?) to fight a 4 round exhibition match on a major network. Sure, blame it on their handlers and their management as to why they can’t get fights or exposure. Maybe they should contact Bob Arum? Seems to work for some anyway.

Shiming’s 4 round debacle is an attempt by HBO to sell you on their next big “star”. This doesn’t take away from Shiming’s amateur and Olympic background of course, yet realistically a 32 year old flyweight with a successful amateur and Olympic background or not (who can place a few solid punches here or there but is still far too raw for the professional ranks yet) just doesn’t cut it, whether he has a nation behind him or not. This is boxing, not politics. Someone needs to remind not only HBO but also Bob Arum of this fact. Give some hungrier, more talented and eager fighters a shot to show you what they can do. Boxers who have used a light bag before in their careers and know what it takes, instead of offering up the public more smoke and mirrors and a fighter who reveals unknowingly that he is nothing more than a sideshow act of depravity.

HBO and its associates know that hype along with novelty sells. They have tried in the past to sell the public on different fighters unsuccessfully, especially when those same fighters have imploded on a grand stage for all the public to witness firsthand. You can print all the posters you want, push all the propaganda inspired press releases and showcase relatively unknown and potential cash cows to a fickle boxing public and eventually you will get exposed one way or another, either by that very same public or by a beautifully timed thunderous punch in the ring by an opponent. Either way the hype tends to fade with purveyors of boxing.

Should we hold HBO network and more specifically Bob Arum accountable? Yes, we should. Because its fights like these that do not belong on television. They leave a sour taste in fans mouths and offer nothing up more than speculation and disgust. That’s right, disgust. Disgust because some deal was made at a table where someone decided that it was alright to push such an exhibition off as a main event bout. I have personally witnessed better boxing matches at far smaller venues where fighters with heart gave it their all and made far less than $300,000 in the process. No one should be subjected to such an illusion while the people pulling the strings behind the curtains rake in the ridiculous profits.

Zou Shiming obviously has every right to make a living and seek out his own place in the world of professional boxing just like any other fighter who laces up the gloves and steps into the ring. The problem that sits is just where does he fit, and where are they going to try and convince us that he belongs? While he appeared in good form during his debut, at 32 and only fighting a 4 rounder in his reveal to the world, Shiming still has several unanswered questions on the table. And with a division that has some strong names in it, how will he fare against some of the bigger names, especially with Roach forecasting a Championship within a year’s time? Being a seasoned Olympian and amateur is nothing to sneeze at, but as George Foreman said during Shiming’s outing, “Fighting in the professionals is different than fighting in the amateurs.” Far different.

Should you have any questions, comments, concerns, or complaints that you would like to throw at Jason please don’t hesitate to e-mail him at Your opinions matter.

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