Overall, I think it's been a pretty solid year so far. The summer, particularly, was packed with good fights: some big names (Gatti, Vargas) fell, and some new guys (Quintana, Williams, Juarez) showed us a great deal of potential in their perfomances. There have even been some solid heavyweight fights: Brewster-Lyakhovich, Ibragimov-Austin and, most recently, Toney-Peter. This morning I was looking at the schedule for the remainder of the year, and there are some fights I'm looking forward to. But there are also some things in the schedule that piss me off. They are, in no particular oder:
1. The Heavyweight Division: No, not because I think it's a weak division. It's not what it once was, true, but it's given us some good fights this year. What pisses me off about the heavyweight division is this: Whenever any of the belt-holders wins a fight, they keep talking about how much they want to unify the titles. In interviews, each of the four champions, and all of their promoters, say that's what they want. Well, guess what? In order to unify the titles, you have to fight the other champions. You're not going to become an undisputed unified champion by fighting tomato cans. All four champions have fights scheduled, and look at who they're facing: Valuev is facing Monte Barrett; Lyakhovich is facing Briggs; Klitschko is facing Calvin "I'm falling asleep watching you" Brock; and Maskaev is facing Peter "I'm 18-4, and have no idea how the fuck I got this fight to begin with" Okhello.
There's a possibility of Klitschko unifying with Lyakhovich in the Spring. As for the other two champions, I wouldn't count on it. If Valuev beats Barrett, the WBA will probably make him give John Ruiz a rematch. And, if Maskaev can get by the very, very dangerous Okhello, he'll probably be facing Sam Peter. Will we ever see one unified heavyweight champion ever again? Not for a while, I don't think.
2. The HBO/SHOWTIME feud: How awful is it to have to choose between two solid cards on the same Saturday? How much more awful is it when nobody televises a fight for three weeks, and all of a sudden you have two fights you'd like to see going on at the same exact time on these two different networks? Well, get ready for it, because it's going to be happening a lot this fall:
October 7th: HBO has Valuev vs. Barrett and Adamek vs. Briggs
SHOWTIME has Corrales vs. Casamayor
November 4th: HBO PPV has Mayweather vs. Baldomir
SHOWTIME has Lyakhovich vs. Briggs, Cory Spinks vs. Rodney Jones, and Jose Antonio Rivera vs. Travis Simms
December 2nd: HBO PPV potentially has Wright vs. Taylor 2. If not, HBO will probably have Wright vs. Ike Quartey.
SHOWTIME has Margarito vs. Clottey, plus Miguel Cotto vs. TBA
Yet we'll have so many Saturdays without a single fight. What the fuck's up with that? I know that Showtime makes it a point to have their fight night on the first Saturday of the month. Obviously all promoters, as well as the HBO execs, know this. I'm not a businessman, but I just can't see who this competition benefits. It doesn't really benefit either network, does it? I mean, not as many people are going to buy an HBO PPV show when there is also a solid three-fight card on Showtime, right? I mean, boxing fans are going to have to choose one or the other. The viewerships simply split. And it's not like two prime-time shows going up against each other on CBS and ABC, since boxing is not on every single Saturday night. It doesn't benefit the fighters, or the promoters, it seems. It sure as fuck doesn't benefit fight fans. So whaddafuck?
- Good fights that I can't see: Okay, I'm mainly talking about title fights that take place overseas. Examples: Arthur Abraham vs. Edison Miranda / Mikkel Kessler vs. Marcus Beyer (which is a title UNIFICATION fight) / Junior Witter vs. Chop Chop Corley / and all in one card: Lorenzo Parra vs. Roberto Vazquez, Ivan Calderon vs. Jose Luis Varela, and Irene Pacheco vs. Mauricio Martinez. All of these fights are to take place within the next month. It bothers me that I won't be able to see any of them. And I'm not saying that the HBO or Showtime broadcasters should pack their teeth-whitening strips and monkey suits and head overseas with their microphones. No. But why hasn't anyone figured out a way to broadcast live fights over the internet for a small PPV fee? They do it for other sports. All of the fights I just mentioned are going to be televised by somebody in Europe or Latin America. Again, I don't know much about webcasting, but why doesn't somebody cut a deal with whoever is televising the fights? They could webcast the fight and share the profits. Matt Miller, I say we draft us a proposal and take it to Germany. Fuck, I'd pay $19.95 to watch Abraham-Miranda any day.
- PPV Shows that give you enough time to get drunk while watching solid toss-em matchups before the main event even starts: There was a time when this was consistently true. A time before Rahman-Maskaev, before Barrera-Fana. Before the recently-announced upcoming JM Marquez vs. Jimrex Jaca PPV main event (October 21st). What is it with some of these big-name fighters doing their mandatory defenses on PPV nowadays? Can't they even put solid undercard fights behind them?
When Chavez lost his first fight ever, to Frankie Randall, there was also an amazing undercard. Trinidad vs. Camacho (a fight that could have been a PPV headliner by itself), plus Tommy Hearns, plus Razor Ruddock.
Perhaps Golden Boy Promotions, as they keep signing up-and-comers and already-proven champions, can bring back these kinds of PPV shows. This Saturday seems like a good start. Barrera vs. Juarez, Barrios vs. Guzman and Gonzalez vs. Vasquez are all solid pick-em matchups. In terms of a PPV line-up, this is one of the best of the past few years. Hopefully they'll keep it up. But given the recent annoucement of that Marquez-Jaca, Ponce De Leon-Seeger PPV show in October, it doesn't look like they will.
Yes, there are other things that piss me off about boxing---like Melvina Lathan and Harold Lederman and ESPN's terrible coverage of the sport---but I'm not gonna go into them now. It's your turn. What pisses you off? What are you looking forward to?