Promoter Lou DiBella Unloads On Modern Boxing
By: Sean Crose
WARNING: Blue language ahead.
Promoter Lou DiBella is a man who’s known to tell it like it is. And he certainly told it like he felt it was when he sat down to talk with Chris Mannix about the sweet science on Mannix’ boxing podcast. DiBella may have an Ivy League pedigree, but he’s a Brooklyn native through and through. He’s also a boxing man, which means he isn’t apt to pull punches (no pun intended). Like him or not, DiBella had some notable things to say about the modern state of boxing. “This sport,” he claimed, “if it’s going to grow and survive in the long run, it’s gonna be on broadcast tv. That’s self-evident fact.”
“We’ve constricted by our own hand,” he added, stating that the sports’ current situation “hasn’t been done to us by UFC or MMA, or anyone else, we’ve done this by our own hand.” As far as DiBella is concerned, “we haven’t taken our sport into the 21st century.” DiBella made it known he felt that it was time for those in the boxing world to understand the reality of the world the sport now finds itself in. “There’s not a full time boxing writer writing for print media in the United States of America right now,” he stated. “Not one.”
DiBella then went on to argue that the problem could be found within the sport itself. “Whose fault is it?” he asked rhetorically. “Fucking industry that’s killed itself. Shitty fucking decisions, bad judges, corruption, promoters that haven’t given a fuck…” Not that DiBella was above contradicting himself. After stating fighters need to go to the point “where they’re fighting regularly for available money,” he appeared to defend fighters who have refused to face Gennady Golovkin (come to think of it, I don’t remember DiBella chomping at the bit to have his friend Sergio Martinez face Golovkin, either).
Still, the veteran promoter had what appeared to be some excellent points to make. By declaring that recent “free” televised fights have brought in bigger numbers than NBA and NHL events respectfully, DiBella indicated that there is an audience for boxing, one advertiser’s may even be interested in. “Put those fights on where they’re going to generate the most eyeballs,” he suggested. DiBella then went on to indicate the real reason boxing isn’t on HBO like it used to be. And no, it doesn’t have to do with some upcoming merger fans are being told about. “Boxing used to be much see programing on HBO,” he said. Now, though, DiBella feels the network doesn’t appear to think the fight game is worth much of an investment. “They don’t think they need to spend their money that way,” he argued.
Truth be told, I suspect he’s right.