The Internet and Boxing = A Match made in Heaven

29.03.07 - By Anthony Coleman: Let me be blunt honest for a moment here: in addition to being a boxing enthusiast Iím also a huge wrestling fan. Sure I stopped watching for a number of years due to the quality of WWEís product, but I was still a wrestling fan at heart. Anyway, because Iím a wrestling fan one of my favorite websites is WWE 24/7 online. If youíre not familiar to this site, then let me drop knowledge on you: 24/7 is WWEís Pay-Per-View website in which you buy classic wrestling matches for a low price of $1.49. The catalog for selection is huge and because of the site I was able to buy classics like Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13. Well one day while surfing on the site the inevitable thought hit me: Damn would this be great if there was a boxing site like this. Since that day the thought has constantly swirled and swirled in my brain.

Personally, I think most would agree that a website like this that caters to boxing fans would be phenomenal. Think about it for a second, there are so many great historic fights that numerous boxing fanatics have never seen because theyíve taken place before their time, or because they werenít a fan of boxing during that time of their lives. Indeed I, a 22 year old male have yet to see fights such as Pryor-Arguello I because it isnít shown on TV anymore. If I want to view this bout I would need to search for a DVD copy, hope the tape is placed on youtube, or hope that HBO will miraculously show the fight on their channel. Basically, I and all boxing fans have few options.

But the internet can allow boxing fans a level or accessibility never dreamed of a generation ago and if HBO, Showtime or ESPN can find it in their minds to open up their vaults full of dust collecting tapes to the public. Just imagine watching Wilfredo Gomezís Brawl with Lupe Pintor or watching the bouts of the prime Roberto Duran right through your computer. If the thought doesnít bring you to Boxing Heaven then I donít know what will.

Right now I can hear your responses-ďwell we already have youtube and DVDís to fill our voidĒ To a certain extent thatís true; however, both methods have their flaws. I love youtube and all, and I was able to watch some fights Iíve never seen before through their website. Yet to be honest, their catalog of classic fights is relatively limited and there is always the constant threat that a fight will be pulled from the site due to copyright infringement. Watching fights on DVD gives you the advantage of the use of TV and great sound and picture quality. However, it may take weeks for a DVD to arrive to your house, and the DVDís are often a box set of a particular fighterís career. To be quite honest, and Iím sure many can sympathize; I sometimes just want to view one particular fight and not the whole career of a fighter.

Yet a website like the one WWE operates is ideal for both boxing fans and the companies that own the rights to those fights. HBO, Showtime and ESPN are guaranteed to make money from an endeavor like this because the demand from boxing fans would be enormous. Also a pay-per-view on demand service could actually create new fans of boxing. It makes perfect sense. On the flipside, boxing fans will be blessed with hundreds (or thousands) of fights to be viewed at the flick of a wrist. Really, I canít understand how boxing fans could ever be opposed to something like this.

As of right now, the cable channels that carry boxing have been slow to truly embrace the potential of the internet. While weíve seen Showtime airing some of their bouts on ITunes, that is only a tip of a very massive iceberg; an iceberg that HBO and ESPN have sadly ignored. Though the revolution hasnít happened yet, hopefully its only a matter of time before the powers that be realize that the internet is Boxingís friend.

Article posted on 29.03.2007

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