Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why I Have Mixed Emotions About The End Of Friday Night Fights

Looks like some people's viewing schedules may have to be altered.

If you're a fight fan, you know Friday night has generally been a solid bet. For that's when, for a good portion of the year, ESPN2 would be presenting live boxing featuring up and comers and/or seasoned vets. It's was fun, seeing those hungry brawlers in action. What is always art in motion? No. But it was reliable, well done, and usually entertaining. Yup, Friday Night Fights was good stuff.

Technically, it still is, for the program remains on the air. That's all about to change, however, and; as usual, we can thank Al Haymon for it. For FNF, as it's commonly known, is being replaced by the ubiquitous Premiere Boxing Champions, or PBC, as it's called. The last FNF card - presumably ever - will be broadcast on May 22nd.

Forgive me for having mixed emotions about this. While PBC has certainly delivered the goods during it's first several broadcasts by delivering top level, relevant matches featuring big names within the sport, one has to wonder just how many big names are out there. After all, PBC is now appearing on NBC, CBS, Spike, ESPN, Bounce, and probably the History Channel.

Sure, NBC and CBS can deliver A-level names while Spike and NBCs sports network can deliver the second tier stuff. What will ESPN be showing, though? Will it be all that much more impressive than the matches FNF fans have been watching for ions? It undoubtedly will at be first. Everyone wants to leave a good first impression, after all. Therefore, boxing heads can expect good matchups and marquee production values (something FNF never had - or needed) for a while.

What happens then, however? Will the quality of fights really differ that much from those FNF has been offering for years? That might be something to think about.

Then there's the matter of quantity.

Apparently the wondrously awesome Teddy Atlas and company will still be on hand for PBC, so the familiar faces from FNF will still be around. What's more, the PBC cards will be broadcast on ESPN rather than ESPN2 like the FNF cards were. Yet they won't be on as much. Just once a month is what I'm reading.

I don't know about you, but I enjoyed my regular fix.

Yet, with all that being said, I still don't want to come across like I'm complaining here. As I mentioned earlier, PBC has delivered on a high level so far. Indeed, in a few short weeks, it seems to have literally altered boxing's landscape for the better.

There may not be as many fights on ESPN now, but it's good to keep in mind there's going to be a whole lot of fights all over the television on a regular basis - probably more than at any other time in history.  Make no mistake about it, it's going to be a most excellent time to be a boxing fan.

Still, even though FNF may seem like a poor cousin of today's new and seemingly improved boxing world, I'm going to miss it. I actually liked seeing unknowns get a shot to climb the ladder and wonder what may happen to those unknowns now. I also liked the bare bones quality the whole program had. As I mentioned earlier - it was fun.

And now it's gone.

I may end up thinking that' s a good thing. For now, though, I'm a little down about it all. Perhaps I've just got a thing for poor cousins.

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