The Yanks Have Had Enough Too

MerchantWe live in a smaller world they keep telling us, I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but the arrival of the Internet has certainly drawn all four corners of the world much closer to my, and everyone else’s, finger tips. Results from around the globe instantly accessible and no story is more than a click or two away. Imagine how hard it must have been to wait days and weeks to hear the results of fights a century ago? I digress, despite this shrinking world my residence on an Island, a relatively small one at that, always left me thinking that as a boxing fan I didn’t benefit from the economies of scale of the American fan. So many fights were unavailable to me because I was a fan of a niche sport in a different timezone.

“If only we had HBO, everything would be ok then” I used to muse. An article appearing on the erraticly edited eastsideboxing.com relaying the news Larry Merchant’s tenure as the face of HBO was coming to an end dispelled such notions of Yankee utopia. The truth is American boxing fans are as disillusioned with boxing, and the networks that claim to showcase the best the sport can muster, as us isolated Brits.

And it seems, classy anchor man – steady, I did say anchor – Larry Merchant’s previous objectivity has made way to a veiled criticism of the methods of the network and the amount of PPV it is now demanding of boxing’s hardcore fans. The old-timers may have fading eyesight and a tendency to romanticise about bygone era’s but the terminal decline boxing is presently in is evident to everyone beyond the short-termist, short-sighted promoters, parasitic sanctioning bodies and greedy networks that dictate the sport’s path. Either Merchant’s increasingly overt criticism or his greying hair has cost him his job. It’s probably a combination of the two.

I’m not saying I feel better than the American’s are suffering too, in truth I feel worse than ever about the future prospects of the noble art but HBO’s decision to drop the veteran broadcaster could be the last throw of the dice to attract a younger demographic. With two of its leading fighters promising retirement on May 6th, in victory or defeat, HBO and boxing in general needs to swiftly align to the younger audience currently entranced by men rolling around on the canvas and the exaggerated brutality provided by their scantily padded mitts.

Despite my personal indifference to the Mixed Martial Arts sport, the threat from UFC is very real. For reference, Max Kellerman will replace the silver mongoose and will doubtless have to work hard not to be perceived as a “yes” man to the omnipresent network.

The eastsideboxing article is available here

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Khaosai-Galaxy says:

    I have never understood this idea that the youth of today will only watch a TV broadcast, regardless of its content, if the presenter is under 25.
    Rod Hull, for example, entertained children well into his 60’s and no one complained then.

    Well besides Michael Parkinson, i supose

  2. David Payne says:

    The honour of a visit from the great KG. I’m with you, though perhaps the fact I’m no longer ‘young’ means my perspective is skewed!

  3. Khaosai-Galaxy says:

    Alas whilst the 2 Ronnies are in charge at ukboxingpress my thoughts and opinions have been banished to the furthur reaches of the internet.

    Shame really, as the Maloney ticketing row is the funniest thing i’ve read in a long time.

    Please could someone point out they are running a BLOG not a “respected” boxing website?

    thanks loves
    x

  4. David Payne says:

    I have made that point before, in truth I think it was I that pointed you to the fact. However, I do respect their output and in Suzanne they’ve found a genuinely insightful writer.

    But the dark cloud of controversy is never far away with Spud, that is undeniable.

  5. Khaosai-Galaxy says:

    They do indeed have very good content, and with 1 noticeable exception, very good writers. However using a Blog to publish their work just gives promoters an excuse to dismiss them as amateur hour.

    But what do i know?

  6. David Payne says:

    Yes and no. In the end its all about numbers and I’m sure Ben aspires to put it on a more professional footing in terms of presentation eventually.

  7. Khaosai-Galaxy says:

    “Mr Willett”

    Now that did make me laugh

  8. David Payne says:

    Yes that was cutting. Though I missed the thrust of that point, was he suggesting Spud and Junior had free passes to a Maloney show in the past? I’m confused.

  9. Khaosai-Galaxy says:

    Hmmmm I dont know, Spud said he used to “work” for Frank years ago, so its safe to say he got a few tickets now and again. I know Maloney has a pretty subversive sense of humour, so i’m assuming “James Russell” is him on a wind up.

    You will be aware of Maloney’s story of Spud standing at the airport waiting to pick up an African opponent with a sign that read “TBA”

    I only wish it were true

  10. David Payne says:

    I think James is a genuine person. I think so anyway. Though obviously being directed what to type.

    I’ve heard the TBA story before. I wouldn’t put anything past Spud.

  11. Khaosai-Galaxy says:

    No, i’m not SAD CLOWN, and im faintly disgusted that you would think it was me.

    He seems very much a Paul O’Grady to my Eddie Large.

    No wait, have i got that the right way round???

  12. David Payne says:

    Anyone read the last post, was there a long goodbye?

  13. Khaosai-Galaxy says:

    I hope i didnt miss another of Spuds retirement speeches, i have the template here

    Sorry to say…………….situation behind the scenes ……………………elitists ruining this place ………….worked hard to make this place a success …………………………….exams in a few weeks ……………… Thanks for all your support ……… this isnt about “Spud”

    and so on

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