Good day or night, whatever applies. Here’s some tunes on my YouTube playlist so let’s do this. If you really wanna trip out, play the last two tracks at the same time. But give the Mahler like a minute, then start the Morphine.
Is it November yet? Talk about a dry spell. I mean, when my love life says, “Man, it’s dead in here,” you know October was a pretty dry month. I actually contemplated getting a hobby or worse, watching baseball. But a few drinks in and I came to my senses. To those that got mad at me for admitting I don’t enjoy women’s boxing, well, there you have it. I also don’t enjoy baseball. Differences of opinion happen.
Why in the hell would any network showing boxing think boxing fans don’t want to watch their favorite because a bunch of guys are standing around waiting for the same event to occur so they can maybe do something is beyond me. I was at the Club Nokia the other night, watching Golden Boy Promotions’ “Fight Night Club” and I’m telling you; there were some fight fans there so hard up for action that they watched the TV and the fight at the same time and they were showing the same thing. Now do you honestly think if baseball was on too, that that same cat would be switching his focus with a fight live in front of him? Well, OK, maybe. This is the age of the multitasker. Though I’m not sure watching a bunch of channels while checking your Twitter on your iPhone and playing a video game all while driving is what multitasking was invented for but who am I to judge?
The idea that we can’t get HBO or Showtime quality fights in October because The Series is on is absolutely ridiculous. In the era of DVRs, live streams, and On Demand, the choices are endless. Boxing has to remain a consistent option to remain relevant. Did baseball stop the UFC from putting Brock Lesnar in his toughest bout against Cain Velasquez? Nope. They went ahead and made history with the first Mexican heavyweight champ.
Wake up, boxing. Quit acting like an old guy who won’t change because he’s too old to. Our fans are legion and they need to be fed. Bring me Novembers in all my months or give me slow death.
In case no one asked...
Still wondering if the UFC is a fad? They just crowned the first Mexican heavyweight champion. I know we won’t count it until it happens in boxing but like it or not, they beat our ass to the punch. And they are a very young company. Can we ignore what they do? I don’t think so.
Jamie Motta of ESPN was at the fight this past weekend and I ran into him at the Pacquiao media day. He told they had four giant screens in each corner of the arena. The place was jam packed; the tempo of the card was upbeat. “One fight ends; they do interviews with the fighters. Boom, they’re out. Next fight. It builds to a crescendo,” were Jamie’s words. Sounds awesome. I’d like to be at a show like that.
In boxing, usually the younger, faster, stronger and smarter guy wins. Well, boxing, meet UFC. They appear to be all those things.
They’ll never kill us in my estimation. That is, as long as we stop helping them do it.
Since everyone changed their tune...
The argument I now hear from boxing fans regarding UFC is, “Yeah, but how much money do their fighters make? Ask Dana White that.” Me, I’ve never been a guy who cares what other people make. But after working in boxing for five years and counting, it’s part of my job to know or at least ask that. I still don’t care unless, of course, it’s an overpaid job for little to no risk. Then I care.
I don’t know how much UFC fighters make. I do know they get bonuses for “Knockout of the Night” or even if they get a knockout or stoppage in general. I love that idea. Like in the case of Floyd/Manny. How good would it be if it was 60-40, winner gets the 60? You think Floyd would still be safety-first? I think the man might risk a little.
It’s a bit of a broken record but, to me, it doesn’t matter what the UFC fighters don’t make in comparison to boxers. It’s that the upper echelon of boxers make so much and thus have so much future money on the line that they are soft. They aren’t protecting their “0” so much as how many are on the end of their next check. I don’t know how we force 1) The fighters to risk more and 2) the networks to stop enabling them.
Since no one asked...
A wise man once said to me, “A division is only as good as it’s champion.” As an army is only as good as it’s general, so American boxing on TV is only as good as HBO allows it to be. Showtime has great programming but in terms of budget, influence and brand, HBO is the gold standard. When it stops putting Andre Berto on TV to “defend” his belt against fighters not on his level and it starts forcing matches like Berto-Paul Williams at 147 or brings “Boxing After Dark” back to prominence and relevance, then American boxing can heal thyself.
Prospect shows like “Fight Night Club” and the Thompson Doubletree cards are important. “Solo Boxeo Tecate” is too, as are the Top Rank “Latin Fury” cards and Kathy Duva’s Main Events off-TV bouts in Jersey. But this is America. Super Bowl country. Monday Night Football country. World Series country. The land of the NBA Finals. Casual fan needs it on “SportsCenter.” He needs it on HBO where he can find it. He is already subscribing to HBO because his wife loves that “True Blood” and he used to watch “Sopranos” and “Deadwood.” Plus they have first-run movies and they both love that. But that boxing? Hmmm, well, he used to like it when Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya were on. And that lil guy with the power is fun to watch. But what else do they have? That Mayweather guy is good and flashy and pretty funny on “24/7” but he’s not very exciting. He didn’t buy the last few PPVs. And he got bored by the On-Demand of Shane Mosley/Sergio Mora.
So how do we get John Q. Casualfan? Williams/Berto which leads to the Floyd Mayweather. Or the winners of Margarito/Pacquiao and Bradley/Alexander. Maybe throw Amir Khan in the mix after he tangles with Victor Ortiz, should both win their next fights.
See, right now, the promoters and the networks are agreeing on safer fights. November and December are exceptions and hopefully a growing trend. But there is an exception. Floyd, Williams, and Berto, maybe even throw Daniel Jacobs in the mix, though he is a bit young to be in their mix. They all are Al Haymon fighters. They make great money with Al, who should be applauded for doing a great job for his clients. But in the end, we don’t get to see these fighters fight. And any combo is a good fight. When the networks stop making exceptions and go all in, demanding great fights from all the promoters, managers, advisers, etc., then we will the sport of our dreams.
Since no one asked...
Bill Dwyre made an interesting comment this week in his column this week on Manny Pacquiao.
Mr. Dwyre said that, “Pacquiao enters the Wild Card gym in Hollywood this week and walks into a sauna of reporters and groupies with press privileges. There are not as many news outlets in the world as there are cameras in trainer Freddie Roach's sweaty barn atop a strip mall. Pacquiao smiles his bemused smile and carries on.”
Now this is my fifth camp, I believe, covering Manny Pacquiao. Maybe four. I’m getting old and the thoughts are getting jumbled up there. But in the three years I have been in L.A. and seeing Camp Manny roll through the Wild Card, I’ve noticed what Mr. Dwyer is seeing.
Since no one asked...
When is a boxing writer a boxing writer? At what moment does that happen? My brother once told me (after I declared I was an actor upon opening in my first play as an 18-year-old hopeful), “Not until you get your first paycheck.”
He has a way of bringing me right back to Earth.
For me, the moment came somewhere between getting my job at Maxboxing.com and a comment a fellow boxing writer made to me, more of a declaration that I was now a journalist. That was earlier this year.
Bottom line is you earn the stripes. And you take on a responsibility. The history of the sport is somehow in your hands a little more. The bounds of good conduct are there as well (though I’m still learning to remember to follow them).
The moment you are now a writer is different for everyone.
To some, those that Mr. Dwyre was referring to, the story begins and ends with Manny Pacquiao. Covering him is an industry.
To others, boxing writing begins when other writers’ work is published and they can blog about it.
To others still, the boxing writing begins the moment they realize they can get press passes if they open a URL.
For some, it depends. While a big name fight is a perfect time to write, a Sebastian Sylvester fight might not be so much that time.
Boxing writing certainly doesn’t begin when a fellow writer gets defamed in a public forum. Twice. That’s not a time to ask questions. More like time to make an opinion, choose a side and assume the worst. Better that than ask honest, straightforward questions.
I chose boxing writing or boxing writing chose me. I can’t tell which. I barely remember what it’s like to not be doing this. I do know that I eat, sleep and drink it. It isn’t about press passes. Hell, I can barely afford to drive to all the fights. No, it’s about honoring those that should be from first fight to last. It’s about doing what’s right (to me that’s equal to writing, honestly).
It’s perhaps not about writing about every single fight or every single story but at least having seen them or being knowledgeable about them. So when it comes time to enter the fray of something boxing related, I come with an open, informed mind and not a mob mentality.
Like in the sport itself, with the champ making the belt, in boxing writing, the writer defines the press pass. Not the other way around.
Since no one asked...
I was down to a choice of David Blaine and Charles Bronson for Halloween. A mixture of the two (think David Blaine in “Death Wish”) was the way to go.
Perhaps I should’ve gone as “Boxing in October”? What could be scarier?
I hope you had a Happy Halloween, fight fans. Thank Buddha, November is finally here.
Now here’s a little something to take you out with.