Some of the biggest deals ever in boxing have taken place in the last 12 months. Some of these deals have benefited a handful of fighters. But what about the fans, the paying customers, what did they get?
They didn’t get Fury vs Wilder II, they didn’t get Wilder vs Joshua and they didn’t get Fury vs Joshua.
Oh, and they didn’t get Luis Ortiz against any of the above, and that’s just at heavyweight.
We are in a golden era of boxing, there is more money around the sport than ever before and yet we are getting further and further away from the best fighting the best. Why?
Well, you all know the answer to that: GREED.
Boxing historians agree mostly that Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest boxer ever to step between the ropes. Robinson turned pro in October 1940 and retired in November 1965. In those 25 years, Robinson boxed 199 times, his first crack at a world title came in his 75th pro bout.
It makes no financial sense for a boxing superstar to perform more than twice a year in the present era. When Robinson beat Tommy Bell for the welterweight title in 1946, he was coming off a 6 week break since his last fight against Artie Levine who knocked Robinson down heavily in the 4th round.
Boxing’s modern era has made great strides in safety for fighters and we must all be grateful for that, but this money that is going to our superstar fighters is as unbalanced as it is in other sports.
Up until recently we could blame the TV companies as the main reason many fights did not take place, but of course now we have streaming companies as well. In the modern vernacular “How we consume our boxing” has changed enormously. We can watch professional boxing events on Facebook now, and on a variety of devices.
So, out of all this easy to consume media from big budget media outlets, are we the consumer getting value for money?
Of course, we are. In the UK we now have free to air boxing on ITV4, Chanel 5 and FreeSports plus prescription services like Sky Sports and BoxNation as well as PPV from Sky and ITV.
When Premiere Boxing Champions signed a 16 card a year deal with ITV4 they became the biggest outlet for free to air boxing in the UK as they are in America. The quality of their events is extremely high. Pacquiao vs Broner, Spence Jr vs Garcia etc.
DAZN created quite a stir in the USA with their $10 a month streaming service but already that price has doubled for new customers. After their first year, even their founding members will be charged the full $20 per month. Any more price hikes planned DAZN?
For all these changes in the sport, some things will probably never change. Bob Arum will not want his fighters on Eddie Hearns shows and vice versa etc etc.
So, will we get to see the fights we all want in 2019? No, not on ESPN or
Not as bad as it could be.