By Jackie Kallen
Most boxing fans I’ve spoken to could care less if Fox is planning to show a free UFC card the same night as the Pacquaio PPV. They can DVR or TIVO the MMA fight if they really want to see it that bad. Besides, it will be over before Manny even steps into the ring.
This whole Boxing vs. MMA fiasco is getting old. Boxing has it’s fans and MMA has theirs. Maybe a top MMA card with Anderson Silva on it would attract a certain number of boxing fans, and I’m sure some MMA fans follow Pacquaio, but it is not an all-out war.
I agree that the whole MMA phenomenon has effected boxing’s box office. But a lot of that has to do with boxing itself. No star names, lousy decisions, and dull undercards have cut into the revenues. However, a true boxing fan will not forego watching Pacman to see two men lay on the canvas for an indeterminate length of time.
Instead of the boxing business blaming their problems on the competition that MMA may or may not be causing, I wish they’d look at how to make our sport better. Unfortunately, it is starting to feel like beating a dead horse to even discuss this subject.
Boxing needs to grow with the times. There is no more “Wide World of Sports” on ABC to showcase young boxers. CBS and NBC don’t offer free boxing the way they did 30 years ago. The whole sports world has evolved. Fans want superstars. Period.
Fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard developed in front of our eyes. By the time Leonard faced Hearns in 1981–he was a superstar. Mike Tyson put butts in the seats. Oscar put butts in the seats. Great face-offs between undefeated fighters put butts in the seats.
Until the heavyweight title reverts back to a dynamic American champ, or until Mayweather fights Pacquaio, boxing promoters will continue looking over their shoulders at the MMA promoters. But a little hard work will keep boxing in the driver’s seat.
Pacquaio/Mosley got 1.3 million buys in May 2011. UFC 100 got 1.6 million buys two years earlier. But over-all, if you add up the top 5 boxing PPV’s you’ll get 7,160,000 The top 5 MMA PPV’s only add up to 5,910,000. Boxing is still ahead.
It will be interesting to see if the live November UFC show even puts a dent into the Pacquaio PPV.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen