|But will people tune in from home?|
One of the things that has plagued televised boxing lately is the fact that the crowds look to be thinner than fashion week. Seriously. At times the whole thing is just embarrassing. How are casual fans expected to get excited over the sport when a live network telecast looks like a rained out Yankee Stadium? Fortunately, the crowd looks to be very healthy for the very decent Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter welterweight throwdown next month at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
Talking on the phone with the casino box office, I learned that over 90% of the tickets for the 10,000 seat arena have been moved. Indeed, I was told only 645 seats were still available and those were all in the upper level. What's more, I was told that the popularity of the event indicates that there may well be a sellout come the 12th. That's good news for boxing, for at least part of the entire card that evening is going to be aired on CBS television.
Yes, people will tune in, or, more likely, stumble upon, network broadcast boxing and find a full house. Provided the crowd is into the festivities, the whole thing can become contagious. That's what Al Haymon, the man behind Thurman-Porter, is clearly hoping for. Truth be told, boxing could take a lesson from the UFC, which broadcasts every card as if it were the final two minutes of a very close Super Bowl matchup.
And while it's true the UFC can come across as sophomoric in its presentation at times, it's numbers don't lie. Boxing may still be the more lucrative and popular sport worldwide, but the UFC is red hot on American airwaves. If it could present the excitement of a UFC broadcast without the over the top, carnival-like atmosphere - a tough task to accomplish, to be sure - the sweet science may once again draw in those long sought after casual fans.
Things are looking good for the Thurman-Porter card. Now all we need is for the card itself to deliver. And for those cameras to show the packed house.