Sounds from the Peanut Gallery:
You know everywhere I go I hear them saying boxing is a dying sport. I hear about how it’s not what it used to be. I hear how no one cares about the sport anymore and haven’t in years. I’ve heard so much negativity about the sport I thought I might be the only boxing fan left on the planet. So when I was told by 92-9 The Game I was being sent to Las Vegas this week to cover this weekend’s NBC’s primetime boxing card which would be the network’s first boxing event in 30 years I was expecting nothing tumbleweeds and an overall lack of care from those who would be in Vegas this weekend. Instead what I have seen in my short time in Vegas is just pure excitement from people everywhere. And no it’s not excitement about the strip clubs, the Blue Man Group, or the endless amounts of poker tables and slot machines. But actually about the sport of boxing and this weekend’s fight. I’ve heard and felt a buzz that quite frankly I was told no longer existed for this sport.
Now I will agree boxing has made mistakes that I will be the first to admit has not done the sport any favors in recent years. I can’t defend why it took 5 years for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to finally to make what will be the richest fight in the sport’s history. But this weekend and the event happening Saturday night at the MGM Grand is not a mistake by boxing. Boxing will be on network television. Not pay per view. Not HBO or Showtime. Just regular old basic television. This “dying sport” will be in the spotlight for the casual fan, former boxing fans, and just overall sports fans to see. It’s even for the naysayers who say boxing is a a “dying sport.” However I would tell those naysayers “Dying sports” don’t get this kind of treatment and opportunity. “Dying sports” end up buried somewhere on ESPN 8 or FoxSports2. This is not the case here.
NBC clearly doesn’t think boxing is a “dying sport” and Saturday night they are banking on it leading to ratings and biggeevents down the road for the network. Oh and the fighters who are fighting Saturday all have something to prove while looking to make a name for themselves. If the main event between Keith “One Time” Thurman and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero doesn’t make a fan of you nothing will. And if you don’t know who Adrien Broner is well he will have not problem telling you all about him. And his opponent Saturday Night John Molina will leave it all in the ring trying to shut him up and keep him from continuing to do so.
Will this investment pay off for NBC? Will Saturday night make believers out of the naysayers? Will it make the hate on boxing stop? Obviously it’s too early to tell, but if what I’ve seen and heard so far this week in Vegas is any indication talks of boxing’s impending death have clearly been greatly exaggerated.