Boxing on National TV | When Will it be Our Turn?Written by Mark Weber
Last August, UFC inked a seven year deal with FOX and Saturday night's event was the MMA organization's fourth with the network.
In a thrilling night of action, Lyoto Machida knocked out Ryan Bader and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua TKO'd Brandon Vera in a grueling and exciting four round affair.
Machida's impressive knockout earned him a title shot against the winner of Dan Henderson AND light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in September.
The event took place in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California and, according to ratings data, drew an impressive 2.36 million viewers. Although that number may seem low, it must be noted that the Summer Olympics on NBC drew 30 million viewers.
With the success of the UFC on FOX, one has to wonder what kind of numbers world championship level boxing on national television would attain today.
Would it be even more successful than UFC?
It makes all the sense in the world for boxing to return to national television, especially because the sport is seemingly on the verge of losing its biggest stars, Manny Pacquiao, 33, and Floyd Mayweather, 35.
What better way to bring mainstream attention to young up and coming stars than to showcase them on national television?
To the casual fanbase, fighters such as Yuriokis Gamboa, Andre Ward, Canelo Alvarez and Adrien Broner are just names. But to the hardcore fans who understand the intracies of the sport, they are absolute rock stars.
Imagine if they fought on national television.
When boxing loses its two biggest household names, newer, lesser-known stars will carry the sport and national TV is the best way to showcase them and endear them to the casual fan.
Golden Boy Promotions came close to securing a deal with CBS for Canelo Alvarez's bout with Josesito Lopez but the negotiations failed, according to ESPN's Dan Rafael. Rival promoter Bob Arum commented on the negotiations via Twitter:
"Les Moonves (CEO and President of CBS) won't let this garbage (Alvarez vs Lopez) on CBS."
Although it was disappointing that negotiations with CBS fell through, perhaps boxing is closer then many expected to returning to national TV? And perhaps Les was right - Alvarez vs Lopez was not quite the right fit for the large television network.
As a result, the Canelo Alvarez vs Joseito Lopez will take place on Showtime.
It's not known whether boxing will return to national TV in the United States but if it does, what's the right fight to broadcast and which network should run it?
FOX would probably be eliminated from consideration as a result of its deal with UFC. And from FOX's standpoint, it probably wouldn't be good business practice to negotitaite with UFC's biggest competitor while trying to help make MMA mainstream. So it's likely FOX would be out of the running.
NBC would be a great option as the channel arguably has the best production of any of the national networks. They also manage NBC Sports, a cable broadcast arm that already carries the professional boxing series Fight Night.
But CBS seems like the most logical option as they own Showtime which is the No.2 boxing network in the United States for high-profile fights.
The most ideal fighter for an inaugural boxing telecast would be Jr Middleweight Champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (40-0-1). He's young and explosive, and one of the best young pound for pound stars in the sport today. Other options would be the flashy Adrian Broner, the speedy Yuriokis Gamboa and the multi-talented Andre Ward.
As long as they are pitted against competitive, well-respected opponents, boxing on national television would likely be a tremendous success, enhancing the the sport's visibility and that of its stars.