HBO Boxing and It’s Problem With Boxers

Saturday night Terrence Crawford the undefeated lightweight prospect from Omaha, NE put on another absolute boxing clinic. Instead of appreaciating his performance HBO announcers catered to the base desires of inebriated illiterate boxing fans in Orlando who were booing.

This does not come as a surprise. HBO announcers, most notably Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant in the past, have often shit on fine performances of boxers. Meanwhile, if an unskilled brawler fights like he is in a ten-dollar tough-man contest at a bowling alley HBO goes crazy for them.

HBO of course becomes it’s own worst enemy. They build up punchers with limited defense and then the first time they meet an elite, well-rounded, skilled-boxer they get schooled. James Kirkland, Brandon Rios, Tavoris Cloud, Nonito Donaire, etc. . In Donaire’s case he gets absolutely taken to school by Guillermo Rigondeaux and instead of hyping up Rigo as a Cuban Pernell Whittaker they don’t give him a date while adding Donaire to a fall card.

Many will say ” how else can HBO play it?” Given the fact fans like punchers and many of these fighters who are lacking in defense and have problems with boxers are Mexicans whose fanbase is critical to the boxing economy.

Those are fair questions. I will counter with two arguments. First, the hardcore boxing base is small. This is a niche sport. Most of the people who tune in may be casual fans or just flipping the remote. Imagine if the first thing they hear is announcers shitting on the fight, the boxers, and the event itself. How is that good for boxing or ratings?

Secondly, instead of shitting on and disrespecting why don’t these announcers educate fans. Explain footwork, counter-punching and defense? Raise the level of knowledge amongst the masses so they can appreaciate what they are watching?  That’s what baseball announcers do during pitching-duels and football announcers do during defensive battles.

I see great potential in Terrence Crawford. I would favor him to beat anyone at Top Rank ( Marquez, Pacquiao, Alvarado, Bradley and to 120-108 Rios). Been watching Crawford since the amateurs. Yet, will he get his chance to shine? Will HBO in Vince McMahon WWE-like fashion freeze out Crawford like they did Rigo? Will Bob Arum punish him for success like he did Zahir Raheem after he beat Erik Morales? Or will Arum promote him like he did Timothy Bradley? Time will tell and I will be watching. But remember: if HBO did baseball in the eighties they would have fired Ozzie Smith because his defense was too good and shit on “Whiteyball”.

Other boxing notes: the agressive Miguel Cotto looked great: but with all due respect to Delvin Rodriguez was picked to make Cotto look good. I am intrigued by a Cotto-Sergio Martinez matchup….I really like the Klitschko Brothers. Had lunch with them years ago and found them to be smart caring individuals. Just find there fights to almost always be boring as hell. Last saturday definitely no exception.

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