By Sean Crose
What happens when a whole lot of a good thing develops into a bad thing? Late last year, everyone and his brother was singing the praises of Showtime Boxing. For Showtime offered viewers four fights – four fights! – in a single evening. And they were competitive matchups, too! It was like the cable network had become a super sized fast fool meal for boxing fans. Yum!
On Saturday night, however, reality hit the fight world. For four fights proved to be too many fights for a night of televised boxing. In short, the network nearly had a dud on its hands. When serious fans start taking note of a card’s molasses-like pace on Twitter, something is rotten in Denmark.
Make no mistake about it, a four fight televised card can be great – so long as the fights are great. Last’s years loaded Broner-Maidana undercard proved to be a smashing success because the fights were a smashing success. The Canelo-Angulo undercard, however, proved long and far from thrilling – especially as the evening wore on.
Sure, Leo Santa Cruz looked good against Cristian Mijares, but he didn’t deliver a knockout. What’s more, Jorge Linares didn’t knock out tough Japanese lightweight Nihito Arakawa, either. While Sergio Thompson most certainly appeared impressive against Ricardo Alvarez, his exciting victory seemed to have occurred centuries before the main event finally got under way.
Indeed, neither Canelo Alvarez nor Alfredo Angulo stepped into the ring until it was well after midnight on the east coast. Even their belated walks into the ring seemed to be at a glacial place. Having said that, the main event was exciting. Though that too even became repetitive after a point. Still, the sheer power of Canelo almost made the endless wait worthwhile.
For Canelo gave the man they call El Perro a brutal, world class beatdown. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in and wisely stopped the madness in the 8th round. Angulo was profoundly troubled by Week’s decision, of course, but a sound decision by the ref it was. Too many fighters have gotten too badly hurt from taking beatings like the one Canelo was dishing out on Saturday.
Weeks tried placating Angulo afterwards. “I’m just glad you’re okay,” he said to the man me possibly saved from serious harm. The crowd was deeply disappointed at the bout’s conclusion, but Canelo himself was rightfully defiant. “The referee stopped the fight,” he said. “It’s not my problem.”
He was right. It wasn’t his problem. An overloaded card may prove to be Showtime’s problem in the future, however. Even though Saturday’s main event was exciting for fight fans, the whole televised card proved to be excessive as a whole. Excessive and dull. Had all fights been as energized as Canelo-Angulo was, it would have been a different story. They weren’t, though, and so the card ultimately must be given a thumbs down.
One has to ask how willing fans will be to sit through another four hours of mostly mediocre boxing, especially when the main event doesn’t promise to be as explosive as Saturday night’s was. Perhaps less may be more when it comes to future pay-per view events. Perhaps three fights with one lined up for after the main event may suffice.
We live in an era where boxing fans want excitement. Showtime failed in the excitement department on Saturday, in spite of its brutal, controversial main event. Sure, fans can tolerate fights that go the distance. They just can’t tolerate too many of them. Especially when there seems to be a long way to go before the main event.