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The Thanksgiving Leftover Award


When DAZN made the decision to stall on The Canelo vs. Kovalev main event in order to let the UFC main event come to its conclusion they were basically saying that in their humble opinion boxing plays second fiddle to MMA. There is no other way to spin that. In one fell swoop that network that has barely cut it’s proverbial teeth in the boxing game shouted from the rooftops that boxing, even with its most important, highly paid and popular star all wrapped up and ready to go, was nothing more than the B-Side to the UFC.

As a boxing purist I am highly offended by that declaration.

Oh sure, DAZN will tell you that their subscriptions went up right after the completion of that UFC card, but who can say if those subscribers wouldn’t have jumped on board the boxing show that night anyways? But DAZN in their supposed infinite wisdom and proven lack of testicles chose not to roll the dice. In a decision made long before the cards took place Canelo and Kovalev were forced to recline on couches for well over 45 minutes while their start time was pushed back to accommodate the UFC Main event. Boxing fans awaiting the clash were forced to watch a bevy of second-rate luminaries pontificate about the fight and plug whatever project they were involved with. This was a huge slap in the face to true boxing fans around the globe.

I am here to tell we are dealing with entirely different demographics with the two entities. Had DAZN, (and whoever else is culpable here), would have “grown a pair “ and went head up against UFC they would have done just fine, in fact I will go one step further and say they may have stolen a lot of buys from the MMA giant.

“Why would you say that, how can you be so sure?”, you ask.

Allow me to put you in “The Wayback Machine” and transport you back to Southern California, January 24, 2009. On that night Antonio Margarito was scheduled to defend his welterweight title against Sugar Shane Mosley. It was a highly anticipated grudge match that would be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing.

On the very same night at exactly the same time just some 35 minutes away Fedor Emelianenko would be getting into the cage to defend his MMA Heavyweight Crown against Andrei Arlovski in an event titled, Affliction: Day Of Reckoning. At the time Fedor ruled all things MMA. Be it Affliction or UFC, when Fedor fought, his legion of fans showed up in droves. The battle was available as a PPV event.

The numbers speak for themselves. At the Honda Center the Fedor vs. Arlovski fight put 13,255 butts in the seats. Not a bad number. But just up the freeway the Margarito vs. Mosley card broke the attendance record at The Staple Center with a paid attendance of 20,820. Boxing outdrew MMA by over 7,500 tickets sold.

That night the buy rate for the Fedor fight was 175,000. The viewership for HBO World Championship Boxing that night was through the roof. The telecast generated a spectacular 3.9 rating.

I do not remember anyone struggling with which card to go to or watch on TV nor do I recall the network fudging on the start time to accommodate any wishy-washy fans.

The shows went head to head and as the numbers show: BOXING DID JUST FINE!

It’s pretty clear DAZN didn’t do it’s homework. Instead they let their number one attraction lay on the couch while UFC was allowed to finish their business unabated. It’s a horrible precedent to set. Boxing has been picking itself up off the mat after a few years of “boxing is dead” chants. Fights are getting better, rivalries in many of the divisions have fans brimming with excitement at the possibilities. It may not be the Golden Age of Boxing but things have been taking a turn for the better.

This is no time to take a back seat to anyone!

But….the brass at DAZN is a lot more comfortable playing it safe than going head up with UFC. That’s akin to a fighter’s corner throwing in the towel, no one wanted to risk it and go Mano a Mano any longer. Seems they are content to lay on the couch and let everyone else finish the main course. It is then, and only then that DAZN will get up to feed on the leftovers. Talk about a Turkey Coma?

It’s pathetic.

Congratulations on your award DAZN. I'm sure you are very proud.



 

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