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Thread: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

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    The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    I just heard on ESPN that CBS (CBS???) has signed a contract with MMA to televise four two hour blocks a year on Saturday nights.

    This could really be the begining of the end for boxing in the U.S. Kids & twenty somethings eat up this stuff. By going mainstream on a network, MMA is going to imprint & brand itself onto these young people like boxing did for us in our youths.

    Example: Tom Smario, the CBZ's poet & the cutman I work corners for, works in a hospital in the casting room. He's the guy that when your bones get pulverised, puts you back together.

    Anyways, he told me a friend of his came in because she had fractured her hand. While Tom was casting her they started to shoot the shit. She's an ardent boxing fan so they talked boxing.

    During their talk she mentioned that she tries to get her teenage sons to watch boxing. They refuse because it's boring to them. Instead they watch MMA every night on cable.

    That's just one of millions of examples. MMA has taken over in the eyes of are youth. & boxing is dying a slow, twisted, death, with the general sporting public.

    It has become relegated to an event sport like horse racing. The only time you ever hear about the ponys is during the run for the Triple Crown. Boxing is the same. We're lucky if there is one fight a year gripping enough to catch the eye of the casual & non-fan.

    The last one to really go big was Oscar-Floyd & too a much lesser extent, Floyd-Hatton. Hey, to me, tomorrow night's Vasquez-Marquez III bout is HUGE.

    & I bet it doesn't even get a mention on Sports Center or more than a blip in the back page of a sports section ...

    If that.

    GorDoom

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Hasn't the end for boxing been beginning for about twenty years? Why should the CBS deal matter? When was the last time CBS televised boxing? Leonard's last comeback debacle?

    Boxing is hovering right around professional rodeo or bowling at the moment. Once Oscar retires, you'll need a private detective to find it.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Good point, 'Scribe. It reminds me that in an editorial I wrote well over a year ago I said: "Boxing is dead in the U.S.. You just don't know it yet".

    However I think your over estimating the state of boxing today. Bowling & rodeo get more face time on TV then boxing.

    & it doesn't help that we get a "Heavyweight Unification" bout between Iggy the Incapable vs. the Cringing Heavyweight.

    GorDoom

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Don't despair...yet. This may push boxing's promoters to offer up even more competitive matches than we've already seen, since the advent of the extreme fighting phenomenon. A steady stream of attractive boxing matches might even attract a network look, especially if a rival network is having success with the MMA, though copycat reactions are the norm with this ilk. It's more likely the death knell of big time, glitzy wrestling rather than boxing. Boxing, and the reaction of television to boxing's promotional response, will determine the latter's fate. The network's had NO plans to televise boxing in the current environment. The MMA may unexpectedly open that door. Who thought we'd see better, and sooner, match-ups as boxing's response to the threat posed by extreme fighting.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Don. I think you have it. Boxing and the powers that be in boxing, have become so complacent, that they are shooting themselves in thhe foot. I think that boxing will survive if the promoters and the sanctioning bodies get thier acts together.

    MMA is competitive, becuse they put the most desired matches together. Boxing fans have to wait years to see the best matches take place. One other reason of MMA's recent success, is the salaries are very low, which makes operating costs better.

    Boxing is in serious trouble, but it has to take it's head out of it's arse and get into the new century.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Unfortunately Don, I seriously doubt your scenario will play out. 1-The kids don't give a crap about boxing & young men in their 20's in the great majority, lean toward MMA. 2- Boxing has a aging demographic. MMA not only has that 18 to 30 crowd, basically the X Games crowd but larger. But more importantly it has enthralled teenagers & even 10 to 12 year olds.

    That kind of young, suggestible market is the kind of demographic that gives networks mammoth, blue boners. These kids are a blank page. & you can imprint products into their pre & pubecent minds that they will carry over into adulthood.

    & it all boils down to the fact that the youth of America don't give a shit about boxing...

    GorDoom

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    I don't think MMA is the end of boxing. Boxing was on the networks once because it was popular. That popularity has waned and boxing is a bit more of a fringe sport. MMA is currently peaking in popularity and I think that ten years down the road it will be in the same situation boxing is in.

    So far one group (the UFC) has controlled a large portion of the market for MMA in the US, which makes it easier to brand as a product and makes it more akin to wrestling (one large corporation in control of a sport...If you would call wrestling that). This structure seems to be responsible for some of the success of MMA so far. One org with one talent pool and a common goal is much easier to deal with than rival promoters.

    I'm not a fan of MMA but as a business it has functioned a lot more smoothly than boxing has as a sport. I do agree with Don that good matches can bring boxing back to the mainstream. Even PBF's antics in the WWE could bring in some new fans.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    It only takes one fight or fighter to hook a boxing fan for life. We'll be ok. Boxing and MMA are my two favourite sports with boxing clearly leading the way. The popularity doesn't bother me. I'll take our current audience over theirs every single day. The older sports writers hate it, for the most part, anyway. It will always be thought of as a bit of a degenerate sport even if it does better numbers. Boxing will always have it's nationalistic pride and better dressed fans.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Guys, it's all about ratings.

    I said over a year ago that once the powers that be got a whiff of the ratings that MMA pulls down that boxing would be dead and gone.

    What about that don't any of you understand?

    MMA pulls in huge ratings from the 18 to 35 year old demographic that is so coveted by advertisers. As a result, it gets on network television. Nobody cares about two little guys from Mexico who fight wonderful fights.

    People want names like Kimbo Slice and Brock Lesnar. Simple really.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Exactly Tom.

    It doesn't matter anymore what great matches boxing may make. It's over & boxing's time as anything but a fringe sport is NOW. Money talks. MMA is much cheaper to produce for the networks & it has that desireable demographic that they crave.

    Boxing doesn't.

    End of story for the TV networks. By the end of this decade boxing will truly be on the ropes as far as it's TV exposure.

    GorDoom

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Absolutely.

    Boxing had a remarkable year in 2007 as far as match-ups and fights were concerned. The biggest PPV audience ever. The cover of Sports Illustrated. Blockbuster deals and blockbuster fights.

    But outside of boxing fans, few people noticed.

    It's why the best middleweight fight the planet had to offer (Pavlik vs. Taylor II) could only draw 9,500 fans and 200,000 PPV buys. Those numbers were a total bomb, but the fight matched the two best middleweights in the world in a rematch of the 2007 BWAA Fight of the Year and still - nobody cared.

    That's a concern.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Here is a piece I wrote a couple days before Pavlik vs. Taylor II.

    I think this gives you an idea of the situation.

    I think it also proved to be true as the Pavlik vs. Taylor PPV bombed and less than two weeks after Slice and Abbott squared off Pro Elite XC has a CBS network television deal.

    http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=12642

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Quote Originally Posted by GorDoom
    Exactly Tom.

    It doesn't matter anymore what great matches boxing may make. It's over & boxing's time as anything but a fringe sport is NOW. Money talks. MMA is much cheaper to produce for the networks & it has that desireable demographic that they crave.

    Boxing doesn't.

    End of story for the TV networks. By the end of this decade boxing will truly be on the ropes as far as it's TV exposure.

    GorDoom
    My biggest fear is that you are right.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    I agree with the general premise of boxing as a declining sport in the U.S., but don't see this CBS deal being that significant. 1) Boxing hasn't been on regular Network TV for practically 15 years now 2) There's a fair chance this could tank 3) The networks don't matter anymore anyway. Almost everyone now has cable and network ratings have taken a beating in the past 5 years.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    There's another way to look at this; EliteXC going network will increase its profile, making it a potential real threat to UFC's market dominance as MMA's premiere. That means more competition for top talent, greater fractionalization of the genre, and more difficulty in making top fights. If UFC were getting network, it would be more of a concern. This could actually end up working against MMA while not affecting boxing much at all.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    I see the two eventually working together. Bottome line, it's fighting guys. Boxing has not delivered in the past twenty years and MMA offers someting different.

    I do think boxing is in trouble, but it will still produce big stars. All of this MMA stuff just means that boxing has to adapt and make the premier matchups. I also think a Crossover boxer to MMA will also halp re-spark interest in boxing.

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    Don't Count Boxing Out Yet!

    Hey,

    I work in a high school that's 60 percent Latin and, believe me, boxing is still alive. And that's not to mention the African-Americans, some of which still like boxing.

    Boxing may be slipping in the white mainstream sector, but it's still got a reasonably good audience with the Latin sector, which if you haven't noticed, is growing by leaps and bounds in the U.S. and states like California and Illinois.

    And what about the Philipinos, where Manny Pacquiao is god-like?

    From my vantage point, boxing is far from dead.

    Just my two cents worth,



    Juan

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Boxing's already a fringe sport in the US in terms of network television exposure. But that's been true for the past 15 years. I tend to agree with Juan that part of the issue is demographics. The mainstream (white) American sports fan no longer really views boxing as a major sport, and that tends to drive media coverage. But whites are a steadily shrinking percentage of the population, and boxing maintains an allure among Hispanics and (to a lesser extent) among African-Americans. In my heavily Latino neighborhood, I often hear guys on the street talking about an upcoming fight. Plus, the popularity of MMA, UFC, etc., definitely indicates that there is a healthy appetite for contact sports. It's not like the country has suddenly become too afraid of seeing people hit each other. The question is how to translate that interest from MMA-type sports to boxing.

    I'll admit I'm not sure it's possible. Boxing is a bit of a fussy, archaic sport, with all the equipment, and the rules about who can hit whom where and when, and for how long, etc. And appreciating it requires an appreciation for technical skills that are a bit different from the smash-bang-boom of UFC events. It could be that boxing's time has just passed, the way the time has largely passed for track and field events, which only get significant coverage every four years.

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    Interesting Vignette

    Good points.

    I joined my friend, Bryan, his wife, Olivia, his bother Bobby, Bobby's wife and a relative of theirs for dessert, drinks and live music at my brother's restaurant, and then returned to Bryan's house to wind down and catch a little TV. As we flipped channels, we discovered that Vazquez vs. Marquez III was still on.

    Bryan and Bobby didn't know about these two fighters, but I piqued their interest by telling them that it was projected to be perhaps the fight of the year. Once we started watching, I didn't have to sell them one iota. They were into it right away, occasionally yelling out, "Ooh!" when a solid shot landed.

    Ironically, though, when we caught a commercial for an upcoming MMA bout, Bobby--who hails from the south side of Chicago and served in the Marines--said, "Now, that's some real fighting."

    Of course, I had to chip in my two cents worth and said, "Well, boxing's no joke." I also pointed out that this so-called "most dangerous man on the planet"...Ken Shamrock" had been knocked out several times.

    Bottom line, when they actually sit down and see exciting stuff like Vazquez-Marquez, you get the average sports fan's attention.

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    Re: Interesting Vignette

    Quote Originally Posted by Juan C Ayllon

    Bottom line, when they actually sit down and see exciting stuff like Vazquez-Marquez, you get the average sports fan's attention.
    Agreed. But whereas most MMA or UFC fights involve a pretty high level of action and contact, someone tuning in to watch a "mega" fight between, say, De La Hoya and Mayweather, might sit through 50 minutes of what looks like very careful, tactical, strategic dance lessons. If you asked that viewer who won afterwards, they'd probably say: "You mean somebody won? For that?"

    Not that I'd necessarily agree with that assessment. I really enjoy the high-level technical stuff. But it's not exactly as blood-curding as a UFC match.

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    Re: Don't Count Boxing Out Yet!

    Quote Originally Posted by Juan C Ayllon
    Hey,

    I work in a high school that's 60 percent Latin and, believe me, boxing is still alive. And that's not to mention the African-Americans, some of which still like boxing.

    Boxing may be slipping in the white mainstream sector, but it's still got a reasonably good audience with the Latin sector, which if you haven't noticed, is growing by leaps and bounds in the U.S. and states like California and Illinois.

    And what about the Philipinos, where Manny Pacquiao is god-like?

    From my vantage point, boxing is far from dead.

    Just my two cents worth,



    Juan
    I confess I was at a card in NYC right after John Ruiz won his version of the title, and when word was passed that he was in the audience, it was like Latino Beatlemania. Amazing, particularly given the apathy the Anglos gave him.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    A good part of UFC's appeal may be simple novelty. Watching two guys locked in an unbreakable hold rolling around on the ground for ten minutes is, as folks will eventually realize, not all that interesting.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    It's not, especially when the 5-minute human knot ends by a submission from a dramatic.....toe hold.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Quote Originally Posted by DscribeDC
    A good part of UFC's appeal may be simple novelty. Watching two guys locked in an unbreakable hold rolling around on the ground for ten minutes is, as folks will eventually realize, not all that interesting.
    I respectfully disagree, Dscribe. The UFC, when it began in 1993, might well have 2 guys rolling on the floor for 10 minutes in a hold. This was still very much appreciated by the fans because 1) the contestants were actually doing their best to win at all times, something clearly not the case in boxing, where posing and taking breathers is the rule, not the exception; 2) in MMA, it's a REAL fight--whereas boxing is a contrived sport where if the stronger guy decided to take off his gloves, or clinch, or take his man down, it would all be illegal-- and no real-life fight is fought as a boxing match; and 3) the UFC organization, in order to appeal to more fans (and the safety overseers), changed the rules a bit and now has rounds, also a ref who is empowered to break clinches quickly when nothing substantive is happening.

    Plus the fact that the UFC makes the fights people really want to see (not waiting years, as in boxing), and actually promotes the fighters themselves (do the WBA, WBC, IBO, etc. do this for boxers??) are key reasons for MMA's large gains in popularity.

    Add to that: apart from us boxing fans who grew up on the sport, who would say that a 12-round boxing decision approaches in excitement 3-4 MMA bouts that can all occur within that same time frame? With fighters who are better trained, more skilled at what they do and are trained at 20X more techniques, who don't come in fat, etc.

    (One criticism I've heard on this board about MMA fighters--they don't look like they can punch! Well, they are barefoot, and most of them can punch and KO someone--power is something that one is born with, generally, not taught in a boxing gym. For those that say MMA guys look stupid when punching, well, so do most of today's boxers at times--and that's ALL boxers do in a ring. MMA fighters concentrate on holds, takedowns, and escapes--the stuff that wins REAL fights.)
    Last edited by Michael Frank; 03-03-2008 at 03:33 PM.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    I love both sports, but MMA will never have a Vazquez-Marquez.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd
    It's not, especially when the 5-minute human knot ends by a submission from a dramatic.....toe hold.
    Right, boxing is so much more exciting when a bout between two fat heavies goes 12 rounds, with them leaning on each other the last 3, and is decided by 2 judges who give it to fighter A by 5 points, though the third gives it to fighter B by 4 points.

    Respectfully, Todd, we're all entitled to our opinions, but I don't see the need to slam MMA. I'm a long-time boxing fan who has wondered where have all the good fights gone, and the good fighters.

    But even in bygone days, we had the Scott Franks and the Chuck Wepners and the Jean-Pierre Coopmans and the Alfredo Evangelistas--NOT poking around the fringes, but getting TITLE fights.

    MMA wouldn't trot out guys like that. The most embarrassing MMA fighters--to my memory--were the pro boxers who fought at the very beginning. They were pathetic, really. I understand a few have made some waves in MMA in more recent times, thank goodness.
    Last edited by Michael Frank; 03-03-2008 at 03:35 PM.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    You're kidding yourself if you think MMA is a real fight.

    It's combat sport that takes place under controlled circumstances.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Frank
    I respectfully disagree, Dscribe. The UFC, when it began in 1993, might well have 2 guys rolling on the floor for 10 minutes in a hold. This was still very much appreciated by the fans because 1) the contestants were actually doing their best to win at all times, something clearly not the case in boxing, where posing and taking breathers is the rule, not the exception; 2) in MMA, it's a REAL fight--whereas boxing is a contrived sport where if the stronger guy decided to take off his gloves, or clinch, or take his man down, it would all be illegal-- and no real-life fight is fought as a boxing match; and 3) the UFC organization, in order to appeal to more fans (and the safety overseers), changed the rules a bit and now has rounds, also a ref who is empowered to break clinches quickly when nothing substantive is happening.

    Plus the fact that the UFC makes the fights people really want to see (not waiting years, as in boxing), and actually promotes the fighters themselves (do the WBA, WBC, IBO, etc. do this for boxers??) are key reasons for MMA's large gains in popularity.

    Add to that: apart from us boxing fans who grew up on the sport, who would say that a 12-round boxing decision approaches in excitement 3-4 MMA bouts that can all occur within that same time frame? With fighters who are better trained, more skilled at what they do and are trained at 20X more techniques, who don't come in fat, etc.

    (One criticism I've heard on this board about MMA fighters--they don't look like they can punch! Well, they are barefoot, and most of them can punch and KO someone--power is something that one is born with, generally, not taught in a boxing gym. For those that say MMA guys look stupid when punching, well, so do most of today's boxers at times--and that's ALL boxers do in a ring. MMA fighters concentrate on holds, takedowns, and escapes--the stuff that wins REAL fights.)
    No diss intended to MMA. I am sure it's all the things you say. I'm just saying that, as far as the mainstream entertainment media goes, it's fairly new. And in a marketplace where people are always looking for the next thing, it has the added benefit of being the new kid on the block. Will poker, skateboarding and MMA be as popular in 2050 as they are today? We will see.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    Quote Originally Posted by starlingstomp
    You're kidding yourself if you think MMA is a real fight.

    It's combat sport that takes place under controlled circumstances.
    Respectfully, I'm not kidding anybody. The UFC when it started out was purely a real weaponless fight, with no time limits, unless one objects to their only 2 rules at that time: no biting or eye-gauging.

    It has evolved a bit to make it more exciting and slightly safer--no head butting now, etc. Controlled to that extent, but still yielding the winner of a fight that is "as real as it gets".

    It is as close to a real fight (between skilled guys, not bar-room brawlers with no talent) as one will ever find anywhere. Miles closer than is boxing. Yes, it's a "sport," what's wrong with that? In the end, no one tries to kill the other guy, so no, in that sense it's not like SOME real fights.

    I love both boxing and MMA, but the idea of MMA when it started--to find out who, from different disciplines, would win if matched together with virtually no rules, any fighting discipline being o.k.--was thrilling to hundreds of thousands of people. Now millions. Only now, it is literally "mixed" martial arts--combatants learned over the years it was smart to pick up skills from the other disciplines, so each is now a multi-skilled fighter.

    So much so that often it is hard to tell if a victorious fighter was initially actually a wrestler, jiu-jitsu man, karate practitioner, etc.
    Last edited by Michael Frank; 03-03-2008 at 05:02 PM.

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    Re: The Bell Tolls For Boxing: MMA to be Televised On CBS...

    We will just have to agree to disagree Michael.I suspect we probably have very different ideas of what "real fighting" actually is.

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