Another year has almost come and gone and the major networks competing with each other has benefited boxing fans. The networks have commitments to promoters and no one else and the promoters have to search mainly within themselves to make the best fights possible and they have delivered. Fights from 118 pounds all the way to heavyweight have been put on the air even if they were bullshit fights that were not worthy of being on the televised portion just to fill spots but what about the fights under 118?
The major networks (HBO and Showtime)have ignored a majority of these fighters and their fights. A fight might be put on here or there on their second rate networks like HBO 2 or HBO Latino but their main broadcast system ignores the smaller fighters unless they move up in weight. A prime example of that is Omar Narvaez when he moved up to face Donaire. Showtime broadcasted many fights of smaller fighters in the past but it seems like it’s happening less with the cold war going on and their commitments to Golden Boy.
Is marketing to blame? Many of the fighters south of 118 don’t speak English and are from other parts of the world but if they were to be placed on an undercard and were able to show what they are made of without having a speaking role maybe fans would actually gain interest in them. Maybe networks would want them back on to put on more shows and give the fighters to possibly learn some English so that they could be marketed to their audience and the fighters would not have to fight for chump change.
Could it be that the fighters are ignored due to the lack of American fighters in that weight range? It is a high possibility but if you look at fighters from other parts of the world who did not speak any English from other countries other than Mexico the networks were interested and some great examples of that is Roberto Duran (who is actually half Mexican) and Alexis Arguello who at one point did not speak English. Yes those fighters were tremendous talents and these are different times but there is a lot of tremendous talents out there that are not recognized today.
When networks invest in a fighter based on the excitement and action produced in their fights then the fans win. It is time for a change. The same goes for women’s boxing which is largely ignored. Prejudice is not just based on skin color and can be based on any group of people and the lighter weight classes and females have been getting the shaft by the networks for years. Boxing fans have lost out on watching many tremendous fights and if it were not for the internet and people uploading videos to watch on YouTube or other file sharing sites then we would be forced to only watch what the networks want us to watch which isn’t always the best.