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There’s No Excuse To Snub The World Heavyweight Champion

Posted on 03/17/2010

The Heavyweight Championship of the World is the richest, most prestigious prize in all of sports. To achieve the glory of winning this title requires the most skill, dedication, discipline and courage. Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Michael Phelps, Drew Brees all chose easier and safer sports than boxing.

America, for some inexplicable reason, will not be able to watch the next world heavyweight championship contest on television because HBO, ESPN and all other American based networks won’t show it.

There are lots of reasons floating around to try and explain this error in judgement. The Klitschkos are too tall. Waldimir’s last two fights were boring. .

Or how about this one from HBO’s boss Ross Greenburg… “For a while, Wladimir was hell-bent on maintaining a presence in the United States, and we were starting to break through with him. Unfortunately, at the same time, his brother decided to come back, so that kind of confused the consumer again in the United States. People have trouble differentiating.”

So what if people have trouble differentiating? This guy is by far the BEST. And isn’t it the network’s job to differentiate the brothers for those fans who are slow to differentiate? People have trouble differentiating the Williams sisters Serena and Venus. People have trouble differentiating race horses in the Triple Crown events but race fans still show up to watch and wager. And the networks still happily televise.

That is not an acceptable reason to not show Wladimir Klitschko’s next title defense against the #1 ranked American Eddie Chambers this Saturday.

Nor is it an acceptable excuse to ignore the Klitschkos because a few of their fights are boring. A few of Mike Tyson’s fights were boring, so were a few of Muhammad Ali’s, Sugar Ray Leonard’s and Manny Pacquiao’s.

American TV networks would never stop televising NFL games or the playoffs if one team was winning every game 56-0.

Major League Baseball will continue to show the New York Yankees from day one to October, even if they win every game by 20 runs.

Networks who broadcast golf will show every major tournament from the first drive to the last putt, even if Tiger Woods wins every tournament by 20 strokes.

Usain Bolt will not be ignored by networks if he wins every major track meet 100 meter sprint by 10 meters.

They’re gonna show every World Cup soccer game even though it’s hard to differentiate each player except when the network shows close-ups.

Excellence is excellence. Domination is domination. The best is the best, even if he has a brother almost as good. It’s the job of the television network to take the story, tell the story and show the story. A network does not know how to differentiate one brother from the other? It’s not acceptable.

The World Heavyweight Championship is the richest, most valuable prize in all of sport. Boxing is the ultimate sport, which golf, football, basketball, tennis, baseball, hockey, swimming all aspire to be like.

It is a mistake for a TV network to ignore either Klitschko brother while he is a dominant champion. It demeans the value and prestige of the title and the sport itself.

51,000 people will attend Klitschko-Chambers live in Dusseldorf and tens or hundreds of millions will view the fight around the globe. But only in America will the fight be unavailable on network TV.

It’s just another blatant mistake by the powers that be who rule boxing.

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