. More Boxing News---------------------------------------------------------------------------- UFC/MMA NEWS
Move Over "Contender", It's the "Average Joe Mesi" Show
By Martin Wade (March 31, 2004) 
Joe Mesi
We Boxing fans are a cynical lot, where is our sense of drama? Of entertainment and panache? Don’t we know that there’s no business like heavyweight show business? Why cant we see that HBO, in it’s role as “caretakers” of boxing have succeeded in undermining NBC, Sly Stallone, and Sugar Ray Leonard by presenting us with the first boxing reality series “ The Average Joe Mesi” show.

Dig this “logline” (that’s Hollywood “lingo” for those in the know): Likeable, good-looking Italian American heavyweight of average skill is carefully navigated through the heavyweight ranks in search of major payday before being brutally exposed. Now this is good stuff! NBC’s “Contender” is going on the premise of giving an amateur a million bucks before turning pro, investing in potential similar to the NBA. Boxing’s already been there and done that with Ricardo Williams, and you can insert your jokes right here.

Joe Mesi’s late fight attrition is must see TV, reality show junkies are hooked on the spectacle of seeing average guys in way over their heads. Watching Joe Mesi barely get out of the 10th round is much more exciting than anything NBC and Sly can slap together. Joe Mesi’s vulnerability’s are as “real” as it gets folks, Dominick Guinn and his solid development need not expect a casting call. No, I’m thinking more like Tony Soprano making a cameo in round 9 as a “motivational” speaker for Mesi.

Ok, I understand a few fight fans are a little offended that HBO ran this pilot under the guise of HBO Championship Boxing but hey, they had to test market. The new ads will state clearly “it’s not Kid Dynamite, not the Real Deal, nor Lennox or even a Klitschko its just plain old average Joe”. With everything coming cheaper in popular culture and reality TV creating opportunities for unwarranted celebrity why not Heavyweight title contention? Joe fit’s the bill, he’s a novice, he’s average, he believes in himself and he produces the almighty “numbers” that TV executives pray to on Sundays.

Joe Mesi’s honest assessments (after fights) alone are funny enough to warrant at least 4.99 of the pay per view dollars HBO will command this summer. His repeated post fight mantra of “I’m still learning” is more reality based than the clichéd delusion (it wasn’t me) displayed by upper echelon fighters. The great thing about the Average Joe show for voyeurs is (pssssssssst) only the viewer knows that he’ll never “learn” anything because he’s average. Now that’s audience participation! HBO is thinking about an Internet poll for rounds nine and ten where you are given choices like A: duck B: Hold on or C: tuck your chin. I find it hard to believe that Joe Mesi’s tightrope walk into the heavyweight top ten isn’t the least bit entertaining. Have I sold you yet? OK, time to pull out the big guns, Muhammad Ali would love it!

That’s right, I said it, if Ali were active today he would be all over this “Average Joe” show. HBO could depend on “The Greatest” to promote the hell out of this event, calling it “The bout to cash out”. Angelo Dundee with a straight face would say “we gotta watch this kid, he’s a hard worker like bing bing bing”. Why I can hear the champ rhyming now, “Float like a butterfly sting like a bee, Joe’s too average for the likes of Ali ”. Bundini Brown would be chanting, “Tell em champ, be the boss with the hot sauce! He got the right complexion to make the right connections”. Ali would be walking the streets of Buffalo two months before the fight talking to construction workers and kissing babies like the master promoter/showman he is. Gerry Cooney, another good guy who didn’t deserve the grief loves this show because it finally puts his career in proper perspective. So please fight fans, get off your high horses and loosen up. Stop demanding a grand display of legitimacy and get with the times. Kick up your feet, crack open a cold brew and see if HBO can beat the clock and cash out on Average Joe.

Questions or comments,
Martin Wade:
© Copyrights / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2004