Via Alex Fesl: Following news that Paramount+ will integrate Showtime into its streaming services later this year, it remains uncertain whether Showtime will continue the boxing show as part of the merger.
While it is understandable that Paramount+ will continue boxing as it already supports a wide variety of sports, including football, rugby, college sports, and golf among others. At the same time, HBO a few years ago chose to discontinue boxing after more than 40 years of television, which suggests a similar fate for Showtime’s boxing show may be imminent.
The optics of all this will be that boxing is fading as a sport and the big networks are investing in other forms of entertainment and sports.
How did we get here? What caused this slow death, so to speak?
Time and time again, promoters cause scuffles that greatly disappoint fans. Instead of setting up logical battles, promoters would let the fights go on for a year or two, forcing unnecessary fights and generally only hindering the big fights. Instead, fans are treated to boring and predictable battles. Advertisers don’t seem interested in bringing in quality entertainment. It’s a strange business model, since the promoters are essentially draining the fans.
Pay per view
While promoters are forcing matches to be unwatchable, they are also selling these unfortunate matches as pay-per-view. Then the public is obligated to pay sometimes more than 75 dollars!!! What a terrible waste of money for the fans!
If you’ve made a match expensive for viewers, the least you can do is match it up with fans who really want to watch it.
Too many belts
Having a champion in each weight class makes the most sense. That’s the only way you can really determine who is the best boxer.
Currently, there are four major boxing organizations (WBC, WBO, WBA and IBF), and they also often have some confusing distinctions about sub-champions. Not only is it hard for the average fan to understand why there are so many concurrent champions, hardcore fans can’t keep up with the organizations stripping some people and not others. It seems like a free-for-all tournament, with these organizations creating arbitrary belts, weight classes, and rules on an ad-hoc basis.
Ducks are another complicated aspect of boxing today. Fighting fans will often comment, “Why doesn’t X fight X,” or “X and X are both champions; why didn’t they fight?”, or “X chose to fight X over X.”
On a superficial level, the optics make it seem like no one wants to fight each other. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Warriors want to fight. They want to entertain the fans and put on an interesting show. I believe promoters are the ones who decide who fights who and when.
In addition, promoters will ask their fighters to avoid fighting with other fighters during various promotions. This way it keeps the belt in the house and out of the hands of other promoters and networks.
Another unfortunate aspect of boxing is bad refereeing. Usually at the end of a match, commentators and fans are confused by the judges’ scorecards. What looks like a melee will be a complete explosion on the scoreboard. Or what looks like a total loss will be a close decision on the scoreboard. There needs to be some transparency in the assessment. It’s unacceptable for a sport when you can’t even clearly determine who won and who lost.
With that said, the state of boxing is not very good. More and more fans are choosing to watch other sports and entertainment due to all the above problems.
Let me know in the comments what you think.
Note to promoters…We need these battles in 2023…
Errol Spence vs Terrence Crawford
Artur Betterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol
Davis Tank vs Ryan Garcia
Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk
Canelo Alvarez vs David Benavidez