The De La Hoya-Mayweather fight should be a doozy next Saturday. Possibly the best fighter out there against the most popular. For the first time in a looooooong time, I even am debating about buying it on Pay Per View.
But I probably won't. Why? I can watch the replay on HBO and not really miss anything.
See, it used to be that fights were a big deal. I've had so many fight parties in my time ... which turned out to be better than any other kind of parties I've ever been to. You'd sit back with your buddies with some drinks, pizza, wings or whatever ... talk about other fights you saw, or other sports going on, while the undercard fights go on. You may even throw $5 among friends on those small fights just to pass the time.
When the fight comes on, everyone gets in that "fight sitting stance". Ya know, both feet flat on the floor, back not touching the chair/couch, leaning up with your elbows on your knees.
Those times are gone now. See, as a man barely into his 30-somethings, I've witnessed the change in the boxing world first hand. This upcoming fight is the biggest fight we've seen since ... well, I can't remember. And that's sad. There used to be a really good fight once a month. Then, maybe four great fights a year. Now, you are lucky to get one.
Of course, the sport itself has turned off fans. The corruption and seediness of boxing makes people feel they are watching a glorified WWE match. When we do get the fights we want to watch, we get them several years too late [read: Tyson-Lewis, Tyson-Holyfield]. We have too many federations handing out too many belts to know who is really the champion. On top of that, many casual boxing fans feel that whatever they are watching is just a puppet show, anyways. The promoter-boxer relationship has the feel of a pimp-ho relationship. One does all the real work while the other takes the lion's share of the money.
And we must pay for it. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA all have their championships on free TV. What, you don't think people would pay $50 to watch the Super Bowl??? Those leagues understand that you don't thrive when you exclude people from watching your sport. With all the new TV contracts going around, the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA are trying to get more games on the air. The only one that isn't ... the NHL ... is, well, you see what's happening there.
Same with boxing. Look, I'm not saying that boxing has to be on ABC anymore ... but let the HBOs and Showtimes televise these big fights live. Maybe show some more boxing on network TV. Look at what response ESPN's The Contender got. Don't ya think it can happen again?
If not, boxing will be replaced by the mixed-fighting circuits. The UFC seems to be more of a must-see than anything boxing has going right now. UFC fans are young, devoted and passionate about the sport. Ya know, kind of like we 30-somethings were about boxing. The UFC fights are seemingly legit, have much more action and more accessability. UFC has their once-a-month PPV deal ... but you can also watch these kind of fights on basic cable.
And let me tell you this [full disclosure, I don't watch the UFC ... but have found myself at UFC fight parties], UFC parties are more and more frequent and have vaulted the organization to break PPV records. They also benefit from a nice cable deal with Spike TV.
I wish boxing could get back to this state. Back when kids went to school Monday morning and talked about the big fight that weekend. Back when you would rotate who got to host this month's fight party. Heck, back when you knew 10 friends who were into boxing enough to fork $5 apiece for the PPV costs.