By Clive Bernath: To say I was shocked last weekend’s heavyweight title clash between Wladimir Klitschko and Eddie Chambers was not broadcast LIVE on American tv would be an understatement.
Less than five years ago it would have been inconceivable that the world’s No.1 heavyweight and Chambers, who is considered by many to be America’s premier heavyweight, would not be broadcast live across the states. After all the heavyweight championship of the world was once arguably the greatest prize in sport and was widely dominated by American fighters until the emergence of Britain’s Lennox Lewis and more recently by the somewhat static but highly effective Klitschko brothers, IBF and WBO king Wladimir and WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko.
Granted, many of the American tv networks gave the much smaller Chambers very little chance of beating Klitschko but surely that’s not a good enough reason to deprive American boxing fans of the opportunity to see one of their own attempt to win the heavyweight championship of the world? The other disappointment for me was the lack of national newspaper coverage the fight got. Aside from the odd two or three paragraph offering there was pretty much no coverage at all. It is absolutely ridiculous the small amount of coverage our sport gets in the newspapers nowadays.
Ok, it was not all bad news as Klitschko vs Chambers WAS available to purchase LIVE via pay per view on the internet in the US and selected European territories for $14.99. SecondsOut has featured a number of top quality world title fights over the last five years including world title defences by both Klitschko brothers as well as Steve Cunningham, Jean Pascal, Clinton Woods and many others.
As I mentioned earlier I’ve been pretty disgusted with the way our sport and fans have been treated over the years regarding the lack of boxing on terrestrial tv and national newspaper coverage, maybe its time for a change?
Maybe it is now time for promoters as well as boxing publicists to start waking up and realise that for boxing to survive at both grass roots and major world title level the internet and internet broadcasting is vitally important if we aret to compete with other high profile sports such as Football, Baseball and Basketball.
Super fights like Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto and the up coming Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Shane Mosley fights to name just two will always find their way onto channels like HBO and Showtime but there are many other good lower level fights for world titles, and non title fights, for that matter, that are not televised in certain countries, or at all. Some of these are great fights and many boxing fans are missing out because they live outside the countries from which the broadcast rights have been sold. By promoters allowing Internet Broadcasters to pick up the internet rights in countries that have not been sold rights to would surely solve the problem. Right?
In some cases this is already happening and it will eventually become the norm but the penny is not quite dropping quick enough at the moment. To be honest I’m not sure if American tv companies were not at all interested in Klitschko vs Chambers or promoters K2 just wanted to continue testing the internet broadcast market in the US and UK but I’m sure if an American broadcaster had made a serious offer for the US rights a deal would have been done. Regardless of whether or not American broadcasters chose to ignore last weekend’s world heavyweight title clash the fact is they did not show it. Luckily for us fight fans Klitschko vs Chambers was broadcast online which is great news for boxing fans all over the world.
March 23, 2010