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Message To HBO: The Best Is Never Boring

Posted on 07/08/2010

For some strange and curious reason Ross Greenburg of HBO is trying to tell the sports world that the Klitschkos are too boring to be televised by HBO. And that there’s not much interest in the heavyweight champions of the world.

Imagine that, a TV executive has come to the conclusion that two of the most dominant heavyweight champions in boxing history are “boring.” The richest, most lucrative, most respected title in all of sports is “boring.”

With all due respect to Mr. Greenburg, who has done a fine job at HBO sports and televised many memorable hours of excellent, creative sports programming, this anti-Klitschko opinion is flat out wrong.

Because the best is never boring. The best in the world is never boring. To be the best at anything, especially heavyweight boxing, is a phenomenally amazing achievement – and requires a lifetime’s worth of dedication, perseverance, trials and tribulations and much more. The Klitschkos are the best and they are absolutely fascinating sportsmen.

Yes, some of their contests were disappointing, but no more disappointing than Ali vs. Young, Ali vs. Terrell, Tyson vs. Smith, Tyson vs. Tucker, Dempsey vs. Tunney, Holmes vs. Witherspoon, etc. All of the greatest champions in any sport have subpar, less than scintillating performances, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, included.

How could it be that Mr. Greenburg, obviously an avid sports fan, cannot seem to appreciate the extraordinary skills and pure mastery which have enabled the Klitschkos to totally dominate tough and varied opponents like Arreola, Peter, Byrd, Thompson, Gomez, Chagaev, Austin, Brewster, Rahman, Johnson, to the point that the fights were virtual mismatches and it appeared at times that some of the opponents did not even want to fight?

How can Mr. Greenburg not appreciate the incredible mental and physical superiority that it requires for two brothers to be able to impose such domination over the best contenders on the planet?
I really do not understand how such a respected and experienced television executive can make such comments.

For an analogy, consider the the Jamaican sprinting wonder Usain Bolt, who has dominated the 100 and 200 meters for two years. Bolt is winning his races by freakishly easy margins yet sports fans come out in droves to see him perform his excellence. And the media accurately portrays Bolt for what he is – a marvel of an athlete and a spectacularly special champion who is simply way above his peers. You won’t hear any TV executives disparaging Bolt as “boring”, or criticizing his competition as lousy or unworthy of being televised. They hail and salute Bolt and his marvelous talents and don’t complain or downplay that he is just better than everyone else because he is so much taller.

And Bolt is revered from Beijing to Birmingham, Monte Carlo to Manhattan, he is a huge star all over the world, not just in Jamaica.

Most of the world wants to see excellence in any form, wherever it originates from, such as that displayed by Bolt in his sprinting competitions. Remember, we’re a global world now aren’t we? Just a click away from anywhere on earth.

It’s a special privilege to see the Klitschkos do what they do. There are a lot of sports fans around the world who respect and appreciate the abilities of the Klitschko brothers who can go into a ring and beat the hell out of their opponents while barely getting hit with but three or four punches. Do you realize what kind of skill and talent it takes to be able to do that fight after fight after fight?
To read how such a respected TV executive as Ross Greenburg could discredit two incredible champions like Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko the way he has over the last two weeks is confusing and curious. Because you will never hear or read a major executive from MLB, NFL, NHL, tennis, track & field, golf or auto racing publicly criticize or speak so negatively against a top champion of their respective sports.

You will not ever hear Bud Selig call a pitcher who throws multiple perfect games boring. You will not ever hear Gary Bettman discredit any highly successful NHL athlete. You will not hear John McEnroe call any grand slam tennis champion dull or boring. You will not hear Dana White complain that one of his best UFC champs is boring or lacks charisma or people are not interested in him. All these people understand and appreciate how special it is for anyone to become the best at a sport.

Excellence is excellence and HBO should want to televise the excellence of the Klitschkos. Boxing is the theater of the unexpected and we never know what is going to happen because one punch can change everything. It doesn’t matter where the Klitschkos fight, whether it’s in Manila, Zaire, Kingston or Caracas, a fight for the Heavyweight championship of the world is always the ultimate event in all of sports.

The fact that HBO Sports would prefer to televise a meaningless welterweight fight like Tim Bradley vs. Carlos Abregu and ignore a world Heavyweight title match between two Olympic gold medalists Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, is mind boggling to say the least.

And when people say Ah, boxing will never die, it will always be around…you have to wonder. With more decision-making such as that of Mr. Greenburg here in America, what will the long term effects be on boxing in America? Could professional prizefighting actually fade to the irrelevance of harness racing and roller derby?

It just might.

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