Is America Ignoring The Klitschkos?
Boxing is bestowed with one of the greatest miracles in the history of the sport – the Twin Towers of the Heavyweight Throne, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko reigning together as the kings of the sport.
Never in the history of boxing could this scenario have ever been imagined by anyone. Two brothers rising from Ukraine to take over and dominate the most dangerous sport on earth. It’s Ivan Drago times two.
But somewhat suprisingly, HBO is not as enthusiastically interested to promote the Klitschko phenomemon as one might expect. HBO has the option but made the business decision to not televise Wladimir’s next title defense in March against the top American challenger “Fast” Eddie Chambers.
This action is questionable because it will only add another layer of irrelevance to the public image of heavyweight championship boxing in America.
I find this to be irresponsible to the best interests of the sport. Boxing media entities in the United States need to stick together and loyally support and promote it’s dominant heavyweight champion. The heavyweight title was once universally recognized as the most prestigious, richest prize in all of sports. It’s a special, honorable title that should be celebrated and promoted by the powers that be of the sport at every opportunity, without exception.
HBO did not ever opt to ignore the last truly dominant heavyweight king Mike Tyson. Despite complaints by the public about the poor dollar/entertainment value of the haste of many of Iron Mike’s first-round knockout wins, HBO always stuck with Tyson and televised all of his title defenses, some of which were forgettable performances.
HBO also stuck with Floyd Mayweather despite being booed during some of his boring performances, and also with Pernell Whitaker through some yawn-inducing 12 rounders.
Conversely to what HBO is doing to Wladimir Klitschko, tennis television networks never ignored Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and Roger Federer when they dominated pro tennis. Track and field TV networks do not shun Usain Bolt’s total domination in the 100 and 200 meter sprint events.
It is still a privilege and an honor to watch the very best like Federer, Bolt, and the Klitschkos dominate and destroy the best competition in the world, in whatever style and form they do it. And one of the charms of boxing is, as Larry Merchant likes to say, is that boxing is “the theater of the unexpected.” No one ever really knows when and where that next shocking upset is going to strike.
Perhaps the Klitschkos are too good for their own good. Perhaps the Klitschkos are so superior to all their challengers that HBO knows it’s impossible for any man on earth to beat them?
If that’s the case, and the Klitschkos are that good, why doesn’t HBO try to portray and celebrate them in that light? Sell the Klitschkos as seemingly unbeatable wrecking machine brothers. They are so good they may never lose again. This would serve the sport far better than basically ignoring their existence, wouldn’t it? Does HBO not know how to sell two twin tower brothers who currently dominate the heavyweight division?
Maybe HBO and the American media can seek advice from other networks and media outlets about how they market and promote Venus & Serena Williams and Peyton & Eli Manning.
The heavyweight division is the flagship symbol of the strength of the sport. It makes no sense whatsoever to shun the Klitschkos in favor of fights (with all due respect) like Paulie Malignaggi vs. Juan Diaz or Chad Dawson vs. Glen Johnson.
Boxing authorities often shoot the sport in it’s own foot with inconsistent or illogical decisions. Hopefully this is just another short-term, random mistake made by the current powers that be – the same ones who somehow recently found a way to bungle producing the biggest event in boxing history Pacquiao vs. Mayweather – and they will soon realize and correct the error.
If anyone needs reminding, boxing has two showcase marvels in the heavyweight division right now and America’s media must promote and market and celebrate their dominance as it deserves to be. The world heavyweight championship title belt and all the men who wear it deserve be treated with the utmost respect at all times.
This will only maintain the honor, credibility and status of the heavyweight title – and also the next man who will eventually be the successor of the Klitschko Brothers.
Scoop’s book “Heavyweight Armageddon: The Tyson-Lewis Championship Battle” was called “A smashing success,” by Emanuel Steward. “One of the two best boxing books I ever read.”