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