Friday, June 19, 2015

Why Boxing Is A Sport First, Entertainment And A Business Second

Know why people have a bug up their you know whats about boxing? Because it forgets that it's a sport. How many times do we have to hear that "boxing is a business" or that a fighter doesn't deserve big fights because he doesn't "entertain the fans?"

Can you imagine a pitcher in the major leagues being told he has to give up more hits because batters, not pitchers, bring in the fans? Or how about a pitcher being told he could only thrown straight down the middle against certain batters? Everyone would roll their eyes and shake their heads.

Just like everyone rolls their eyes and shakes their heads at boxing.

People are up in arms over Adrien Broner getting preferential treatment over Shawn Porter, but that's only the most obvious case of sportsmanship coming in second to market demands recently. Promoters have to start asking themselves what's best for business - catering to market tested fighters, like Broner, Cotto and Garcia - or creating a healthy sport where the general public knows there's a level playing field for athletes to try to succeed on.

Someone like Erislandy Lara, for instance, may not be a fan favorite. Indeed, ratings might slump if he were to be a dominant fighter in the public eye. Lara wouldn't be around forever, though. What's more, it's obvious the guy is beatable as it is. All fighters are.

I argue that the long term economic health and popularity of the sport would be better served by letting people like Lara organically rise as high as they can. No ducking. No catchweights. No excuses of  "he's boring." If athletic prowess were to be the single determining factor in boxing, the sport would regain respect.

And respect would lead to higher viewership and revenue. Believe it. Not every fighter can be a Mike Tyson or a Sugar Ray Leonard. But everyone knows that. Adrien Broner, for instance, may bring in eyeballs and coin, but he'd bring in a lot more of both if people felt he could back up his mouth with skill.

And right now they don't know that. And that's why Broner is must see for boxing fans this weekend, but not sport's fans in general.

Things simply don't have to be this way.

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