By Alex Fesl: Following news that Paramount+ will be integrating Showtime into its streaming services later this year, it remains uncertain whether Showtime will be continuing its boxing programming as part of the merger.
While it would make sense that Paramount+ would keep boxing as it already supports various sports, including soccer, football, college sports, and golf among other sports. At the same time, HBO several years ago opted to discontinue boxing after over 40 years of telecasts which suggests the same fate for Showtime’s boxing programming could be in order.
The optics of all this will be that boxing is fading as a sport, and major networks are investing in other forms of entertainment and sports.
So how did we get here? What is causing this slow death, so to speak?
Time and time again, promoters make fights that frustrate fans beyond belief. Rather than setting up logical fights, promoters will let fights marinate for a year or two, force unnecessary mandatory fights, and overall just get in the way of big fights. Fans are left watching boring and predictable fights instead. Promoters don’t seem to be interested in putting on quality entertainment. It’s a strange business model, as the promoters are essentially running off the fans.
While promoters are forcing unwatchable fights, they are also selling these sorry matches on pay-per-view. The public is then obligated to pay sometimes over $75!!! What a tremendous waste of money for the fans!
If you are already making a fight expensive for the viewers, the least you can do is match the fighters fans actually want to see.
Too many belts
Having one champion at each weight class makes the most sense. It’s the only way you can really determine who the best fighter is.
Currently, there are four major boxing organizations (WBC, WBO, WBA, and IBF), and they often have several confusing distinctions of secondary champions as well. Not only is it hard for casual fans to grasp why there are multiple simultaneous champions, hardcore fans can’t keep up with the organizations stripping some belt holders and not others. It seems more like a free-for-all, with these organizations making up belts, weight classes, and arbitrary rules on an ad hoc basis.
Ducking is another complicated aspect of boxing today. Fight fans will often comment, “Why doesn’t X fight X”, or “X and X are both champions; why don’t they fight?”, or “X chose to fight X instead of X.”
On the surface level, the optics make it seem like nobody wants to fight each other. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Fighters want to fight. They want to entertain the fans and put on an exciting show. I believe the promoters are the ones dictating who fights who and when.
Additionally, promoters will have their fighters avoid fighting other boxers under different promotions. This way, it keeps the belts in-house and not going to other promoters and networks.
Another unfortunate aspect of boxing is the bad judges. Often at the end of a fight, commentators and fans will be baffled at the judges’ scorecards. What looked like a close fight will be a complete blowout on the scorecards. Or what looked like a complete blowout will be a razor-close decision on the scorecards. There needs to be some transparency in judging. It’s unacceptable for a sport when you can’t even determine who wins or loses definitively.
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 of the above issues.
Let me know in the comments what you think.
Note to promoters…We need these fights in 2023…
Errol Spence vs. Terrence Crawford
Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol
Tank Davis vs. Ryan Garcia
Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk
Canelo Alvarez vs. David Benavidez