Saturday, March 7, 2015

Why NBCs Primetime Boxing Broadcast Is Relevant

So you probably haven't watched boxing in a long time. Truth be told, you may never have watched boxing at all. Yet as you flick through the channels tonight, you're probably going to stumble across live boxing. No, it won't be on Showtime or HBO. It won't be on cable outlets like ESPN or Fox Sports, either. It will be on NBC. The NBC, flagship channel of the peacock network.

Chances are, you will stop for a second. And, at that point, the odds are good that you may want to keep watching what's on the screen - at least for a moment or two. At least that's what the folks at NBC and super advisor Al Haymon hope you will do. In fact, they may not want you to do a whole lot more. They just want to get it in your head that boxing is on network television. Good boxing. The kinds of boxing that entertains and intrigues.

Haymon and NBC, you see, have decided to place major matchups on this weekend's broadcast. These aren't up-and-comers you'll see on your television. These are top of the line pros, guys who may well find themselves facing guys named Manny and Floyd in the very near future.

In fact, one of the fighters being showcased tonight - Robert Guerrero - has faced Floyd Mayweather once a major pay per view fight, no less. Now Guerrero will face ferocious contender Keith Thurman, a man with designs on being heir to the throne Floyd and Manny will leave behind, perhaps sooner than later.

Indeed, Thurman is dying to get one of boxing's marquee names in the ring. What's more, Guerrero wants his second chance at glory. Make no mistake about it, Guerrero-Thurman is a major fight in the sport of boxing. There's simply no other way to put it. By offering it to the world free of charge, NBC and Haymon are letting you know that they want your interest, that they want to learn in a year or so that boxing is as closely followed as America's other major sports.

Boxing hasn't been in an esteemed position in quite some time, you see. In the 1980s, it was said to be one of the most popular sports in the country, behind only football, baseball and basketball. Now it's behind MMA in many regards. Yet NBC and Haymon know that can change. For boxing at its best is an extremely fast paced and dramatic sport, one where the drama of the individual is of primary interest to fans.

And that, really, is the point. Haymon and the peacock network want you to get familiar with the likes of  Thurman and Guerrero. They want you to know their names, faces, and fighting styles. They want you invested in them, like you may have been invested in the likes of Hagler and Leonard not so long ago. That way you'll keep tuning in - for free - and boxing will rise again.

The fact that it just might makes tonight's NBC broadcast a relevant event in the world of contemporary sports. That and the fact that the co-main event, between Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr. is a top quality throwdown, as well.

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