Ringtalk.com: “FIGHT CHICK” SAYS “SEND IN THE CLOWNS!”
16 September, 2008 by Frances Martel
FANS WANT ENTERTAINMENT, GET LESS
Cambridge, MA- This whole return to the original grandeur of the boxing world thing that boxing fans were salivating all over themselves for in August doesn’t seem to be going so well. The expectations for action were understandably low in the lull between autumn and the finally indisputable entry of Antonio Margarito (37-5, 27 KOs) into the sport’s pound for pound best. For several years now, this vacation break at a time when many people are not close to a TV and have spent more money than they should have on resorts and ice cream has been established as a norm and has worked quite well. The only catch is that great matches have to follow great periods of deprivation, and instead of sending us the champions, the promoters have sent in the clowns.
LITTLE MODERATION GOES A LONG WAY
Sometimes a little moderation goes a long way in easing everyone back into the boxing groove. This year the bigwigs in our sport seemed to have missed that memo, beginning the reawakening of boxing with Nikolay Valuev (49-1, 34 KOs)- the largest boxer to have ever fought on record- and a pretty standard fight between junior flyweights for an alphabet soup crown. It is unclear whether the tactic here is to warm everyone up for the exciting bouts in the winter or to capitalize on the inner core of boxing fans and their need to watch a fight- any fight.
WILL THIS WORK?
If the goal is the former, it is difficult for there to be a worse way to ring them in. Anyone who has even lightly followed boxing in the past five years knows that the heavyweight division is one to avoid, and the lighter crew, while some are spectacular on their own, tend to lack a certain element of excitement that the middle divisions have mastered. If the goal is the latter, perhaps they have succeeded; I have received emails from readers of the site that they purchased the Ivan Calderon-Hugo Cazares PPV out of “desperation” from being deprived for a whole summer.
PULLING IN THE FANS LIKE YO-YOS
In the short term, starving your customers until they will buy anything and everything you throw at them is a pretty nifty way to make money. The masses will miss the adrenaline rush of the summer’s best fight and, like all junkies, continue searching and paying for that perfect high from the first time. In the long term, however, no one can possibly take this abuse for so long, especially with all the competition our sport has from other activities- everything from MMA to football to competitive eating. So to counterbalance this disastrous first run towards autumn 2008, we got a few (semi-) free cable fights that made Cazares-Calderon look like Holyfield-Tyson. HBO opened with a Michael Katsidis (23-2, 20 KOs)- Juan Diaz (34-1, 17 KOs) event that wasted everyone’s time in epic proportions. Heralded “the fight to show your friends that like MMA and may be interested in boxing” by incorrigible sports imp Max Kellerman, from the first round it was a mismatch. Diaz is not a big puncher but was indisputably the bigger guy; no matter how hard Katsidis hit, he could do nothing because he frame did not allow him, and yet his chin never failed him. A little man with a big chin fighting a big man with a little punch is quite possibly the ultimate recipe for disaster, and in this case translated into the two clowning around for a few rounds in a match whose most exhilarating moment came when the referee paused the fight to cut off some loose tape on one of Katsidis’ gloves. This was not Katsidis’ fault; he was out of his league and handled it with grace. But the time it took him to defeat a man that was so obviously incapable of winning by dancing around and being “technical” in a fight where nothing the opponent does will hurt is an indefensible act.
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Note: When it comes to boxing, “The Fight Chick” is featured exclusively at http://www.RingTalk.com. In addition, she has worked for Telemundo television and is also the Publisher of the Harvard University Independent, a weekly magazine put together by Harvard students.