This Will Be Your Legacy Golden Boy
9.14.08 - by Amir Peay - Golden Boy has just announced its plans to co-promote 4 pay per view mixed martial arts events with the fledging MMA promotion and t-shirt company, Affliction. These events will broadcast both Boxing and MMA together on the same cards, and apparently Golden Boy attempted to have the first MMA event on the under card of the Bernard Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik bout October 18. Co-promoter Top Rank and HBO rejected the offer..
Article posted on 14.09.2008
"They presented us with the option and we respectfully declined," HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet told ESPN.com.
I would like to pose the following question to Golden Boy: Why would you take a sporting legacy that is over 140 years old, steeped in tradition, and then dilute it and insult it at the top levels of the sport by co-promoting it with an entirely separate sport? Boxing has been intertwined in the fabric of some of the most notable world events, has been a part of the American (and other nations) narrative, and has produced internationally idolized athletes. In essence, you are giving MMA equal billing with boxing, and introducing boxing fans to MMA by force. These fans then later on down the road will on occasion be given the choice of spending their PPV dollars on boxing or MMA. Imagine a father who watches boxing, tuning into the big fight with his young son. That son is now being introduced to boxing in a way that further marginalizes the sport and disrespects the tradition that all boxing fans adore. Some day when that kid grows up, he may choose to order a UFC event as opposed to a boxing PPV.
Thank you HBO for turning this down. Thank you Top Rank for turning this down. In boxing, a fighter who quits is ridiculed. It is ok to lose. The best lose, but they do it with respect and honor. If boxing is to wither on the vine because MMA slowly saps its viewers (which I do not believe is happening or will happen), so be it. But I cannot stand the thought of boxing withering away because some of the top people within the sport sell it out to cash in on what they think is the future. I do not think that the UFC would put boxing into one of their events because they want to see THEIR sport grow and prosper. Why is it that the major MMA websites never report on boxing headlines, but many of the major boxing websites cover MMA? Some boxing websites take payment to cover the sport of MMA, another example of people in the sport of boxing selling their sport short to capitalize on the trend of MMA.
Would Major League Baseball ever tarnish their tradition by infusing another sport into theirs just to boost ratings and appeal to a younger audience? No way, no how. Imagine a skateboarding event held during a World Series game, because that is how I see putting MMA into the same event as a world championship fight the caliber of Pavlik-Hopkins. Furthermore, boxing has just recently shown that it still packs a punch when pulling in a viewing audience. De La Hoya-Mayweather blew away all PPV records doing around 2.4 million buys, and then Mayweather-Hatton did over 1 million PPV buys. The UFC does not consistently (or I am not sure if ever), go over 1 million PPV buys, so why is Golden Boy, who had a piece of both of those fights, taking steps to pump up MMA at the expense of boxing?
Based in Los Angeles, along with Affliction, Golden Boy is run by Oscar De La Hoya and CEO Richard Schaefer. I would like to know who’s idea it was to get into the MMA business, bill it as an equal to boxing, and use it to cut into the boxing fan base. Is it Oscar who owes everything in his life to boxing? Or is it the investment banker, whose profession causes him to see things by way of excel spreadsheets and projected cash flows?
In his column, ESPN writer Dan Rafael also noted, ‘In addition, Affliction will become the official apparel licensee for Ring Magazine, which Golden Boy bought last year. It unveiled several sample T-shirts featuring old covers of Ring magazine, including ones of Sugar Ray Robinson.’ It irks me that Golden Boy will be using the Ring Magazine to capitalize on classic fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson through a heavy metal, mixed martial arts clothing company. Go to the Affliction website and you will probably be able to buy the Sugar Ray Robinson t-shirt right next to that guy from the Ultimate Fighter reality show.
I do not have any problem with Golden Boy getting into the MMA business, but I simply wish that it did so without taking anything away from boxing. That fight slot showing a MMA match could show an up and coming boxer instead. I am actually a really big fan of MMA, but grew up with boxing as a big part of my life and therefore feel defensive of the sport I love. The people in MMA are doing their thing, doing it well, and are protective of what they are doing. I just wish the same held true in the sport of boxing.
Between Golden Boy’s connection to HBO, their stable of boxers, the ownership of the Ring Magazine, and their alliance with USA Boxing, they could do so much to help the sport of boxing. This recent move in my mind is a low blow to the sport.
Watching Golden Boy take this route honestly makes me wish that Don King and Bob Arum live to be a thousand years old.
Amir Peay is the owner of a boxing inspired line of t-shirts that sponsors up and coming fighters. www.UndisputedBrand.com & www.MySpace.com/UndisputedGear
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