Bad week for posting or paying attention to sports with classes starting Sunday of all things; may have to work a permanent solution to this. Popping up to note three things:
1. Hard Knocks is a fun show and all, but whoever decided to show the Jets’ coaching staff reading ESPN.com comments on them is out of his or her mind. DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS. If they read youtube comments sections next week, I give up. Also, the amount of product placement on that show is out of hand. It’s like watching “The Nike Swoosh Hour (Featuring Rex Ryan & His Orchestra).”
2. Give me Chad Dawson over Jean Pascal this weekend. Jab, jab, jabjabjabjab, jab, jabbity-jab-jab-jab, Jab Judah, jab, jab. UDEC12. Jab. Hopefully more than the 10,000+ Pascal supporters in the building actually watch this fight, because for a fighter as good as Dawson to have so little fan support is just tragic. A lot of it is mis-promotion and some of it is that he has a paint-drying style for anyone but a boxing purist; only one of those may be curable, but hopefully this fight raises his name recognition if nothing else.
3. Buyrates. Sonnen/Silva did approximately 800,000-1M, which shows you the value of a great talker; Marquez-Diaz did 150,000-200,000. Now, a reasonable person looks at that second number and sees several things which are likely to be feeding into it: that Marquez as the preeminent Mexican fighter of the moment is a bigger draw than realized; that a loaded undercard (of sorts) can help drive buys; and that in a summer where even vaguely respectable boxing cards have been conspicuously thin on the ground, pent-up demand can carry even a mediocre card to unexpected heights. Boxing’s response to this so far is: try to feed Marquez to Amir Khan, a nothing draw in America who has the wrong style for and a ton of size and age on the older fighter; no loaded undercard shows scheduled upcoming; and a return to HBO PPV with Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora, one of the worst PPV headliners of recent times and one which is guaranteed to hobble the market. Nobody learns anything in this sport. And don’t even get me started on Dirrell/Ward being postponed indefinitely and possibly canceled, Alfredo Angulo following Kelly Pavlik in turning down a shot at middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez, Alexander Povetkin fleeing into the night in terror of the Klitschkos, Luis Fucking CoFuckingLazzo demanding more money when he can’t even get a fight lined up, the sport-wide freeze-out of Celestino Caballero….
These things matter because even with relative hardcores, they affect how much you can really care about a sport. Right now I have last night’s Bellator on my DVR which I will watch, time permitting, along with tonight’s Strikeforce Challengers show; there’s also a ton of boxing on tonight on various channels featuring solid fights with under-the-radar guys, but I’m skipping all of that because it’s impossible to get emotionally invested in the careers of guys in a sport where the only guarantee is that most of the best fights won’t get made. 5 or 10 years ago I’d have been eagerly anticipating ShoBox and Friday Night Fights and I would actually know what number Telefutura was on my cable system; now, meh, whatever. I have studying to do and I should go for a run. It’s not an accident that my interest in MMA has reached the point where I can correctly preview and actually care about the results of fights like, say, Rickipedia Story vs. Dustin Hazlett but could not possibly care about the boxing equivalent thereof; and those buyrate numbers listen above should tell you that I am hardly alone on this. The biggest boxing fights are bigger than the biggest UFCs (for now) but the population of fans who care enough to pay out month by month and carry the sport isn’t even close anymore, and that is not an accident. Something needs to be done.
Instead, we get the return of Michael Grant to PPV headliners in a couple of weeks. Go read Dan Rafael’s chat and compare the number of questions about actual made fights to the questions about what-if fights which will never happen; it’s a fucking tragedy.