This Saturday night there is a plethora (yes, plethora) of boxing. It's a busy slate on three different platforms from various parts of the United States, and will feature some anticipated fights.
From the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas, rising welterweight contender, Vergil Ortiz, continues his climb up the ladder as he faces Egidijus 'Mean Machine' Kavaliauskas on DAZN. While ESPN has a broadcast from Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel, where Joshua Franco defends his WBA junior bantamweight title versus Andrew Moloney in their third meeting, and from 'the War Grounds' in Carson, California, WBO bantamweight champion, John Riel Casimero takes on Guillermo Rigondeaux as the headliner on Showtime.
Some would say this is an abundance of quality boxing. Others, might call it a gluttony. Both might have a point. But you wonder if a niche sport can afford to split it's audience so frequently.
Would these cards be better served being placed on separate dates where they have the spotlight to themselves?
Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank (which is staging Franco-Moloney III) states, ''I mean, how many baseball games are there in a day?”
It's a legitimate counter point, but at the same time, Major League Baseball teams have 162 games schedules and play games Monday through Sunday. Boxing's biggest events for the past few decades have been put almost exclusively on Saturday nights.
Perhaps this is more analogous to college football Saturdays, where a host of pivotal games takes place almost every weekend. But it has to be noted, many of these contests are spread throughout the day. There was a time when the majority of the fights on over-the-air networks took place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Now, in an era when there are more competing platforms and networks than ever, Saturday nights have become prime real estate. If it were a Monopoly board, it would be both Boardwalk and Park Place. But nowadays there is no monopoly on Saturday evenings when it comes to boxing events, unless there is a major card featuring the likes of Canelo Alvarez, or bouts such as Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder.
Back on July 9, Golden Boy Promotions actually put on a card (that was streamed by DAZN) on a Friday night at the Banc of California Stadium. Eric Gomez, the president of GBP admitted that they moved their show because they simply didn't want to up against the Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier pay-per-view the next night.
When asked about the possible saturation of boxing programming on certain dates, Gomez told SNAC, "Obviously, it's always a concern but nowadays there's so many things going on, especially coming off Covid. These dates are very important -- they're like gold. And sometimes you don't have the luxury like in the past where you can post-pone it, or wait, because you know another dates going to happen."
"You have to go because every weekend there's always something going on."
Another factor is that there is a battle to secure venues which are oftentimes booked months in advance. Other times, promoters are assigned dates by their broadcast partners, who foot the bill for these cards.
"You get a date," explained Gomez, "you have to just do your best and take advantage of it."
On Friday September 10, Top Rank goes into Tucson, Arizona, with a show headlined by WBC 130 pound titlist, Oscar Valdez.
"You can't use Friday's if you're going to do a fight in California because people are coming home from work," said Arum, referring to the preponderance of SIG Alerts in the state. "But in Arizona, in Tucson, not much of a problem to go on a Friday. I like Friday's, and the network is not adverse to Fridays."
Bottom line, this issue -- we wont call it a 'problem' -- isn't going away anytime soon. But it beats Saturday's with no boxing, at all.
CANEL-NO on September
Got this email from 'beatlesfan317' last week in regards to the aforementioned Mexican superstar
"Can we still say Canelo owns the Mexican holidays? I don't think so. He fought on Cinco de Mayo only 2 of the last 4 years and more importantly, hasn't fought on Mexican Independence Day for 3 years since the GGG rematch in 2018. I think it's time for everyone to stop referring to those as Canelo dates."
Those are undeniable facts. Although, it has to be noted that last year with the pandemic, Canelo fighting on the traditional mid-September date wasn't all that feasible. He simply isn't a 'bubble' boxer. Yet, he the proverbial 800-pound gorilla. He could sit and take over that date, anytime he wants.
Now, I'm sure you have all heard that he will return later in the fall instead of September 18. They have now rekindled talks with IBF 168 pound champion, Caleb Plant. Alvarez and his reps have made it clear to the PBC that they are only committing to one fight to the PBC and FOX. Which is fine.
But on the flip side: is Alvarez willing to take less than the $40 million he was set to receive before? Part of that over-payment was in essence for a multi-fight deal. Everything comes at a cost.
Including your freedom.
So just how much is that last super middleweight belt worth to Canelo, if it's just a one-off with the PBC?
I asked Arum late last week if his company had plans on any other fights that weren't announced, yet. And he was hesitant to tell me, and get this, it's because he was afraid of them getting good reviews.
"If you write that the fight is shit -- then they're happy with what we offer them," he explained. "But if you say it's the greatest fight, ever, they want more money."
So I graciously offered to rip every one of their proposed fights to shreds from this point forward.
"Yeah, OK," he replied not all that amused, "I'll tell you when they get made."
He didn't admit it, but he was probably cracking up inside.
There's a justified amount of outrage in regards to the scandalous decision involving Mykal Fox and Gabriel Maestre, that took place on Satruday night on the 'PBC on FOX' telecast.
Scott Shaffer of BoxingTalk.com outlined the issues well in this piece (http://boxingtalk.com/Boxing-world-aghast-at-WBA-corruption-in-Maestre's-tainted-win-over-Fox)
But moving forward, I think this question had to be posed....
In addition to the stuff on Saturday night, DAZN has the third installment of 'Fight Camp' from 'Hearn Square Garden' featuring Joshua Buatsi in the afternoon....Also Thompson Boxing is streaming it's card from Corona. More on that later this week.... This past weekend, Kid Galahad put forth a dominant effort in stopping Jazza Dickens to capture the IBF featherweight title...I was actually enjoying the spirited effort of Luis Collazo before his bout against Eimantas Stanionis was halted due to a clash of heads before the end of the fourth.... Really enjoyed the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame induction ceremonies... Jimmy Johnson's bust didn't have a hair out of place -- meaning it looks perfect.... I've been binge watching 'Three's Company' reruns recently, and I have to say Joyce DeWitt's work was criminally underrated on this fine program.....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org