Crawford-Beltran by the Numbers

By Robert Ecksel on December 3, 2014
Crawford-Beltran by the Numbers
I need to be drugged and hogtied before watching college football, classic or otherwise.

Watching college boys on the gridiron may be satisfying to some, but it ain’t boxing, and not by a long shot…

Saturday’s fight at in Omaha, Nebraska, between Terence Crawford and Ray Beltran has been declared a ratings flop. Although 11,000 Nebraskans crammed into the CenturyLink Center to watch their hometown hero successfully defend his WBO light welterweight title, less than a million tuned into HBO Boxing After Dark to watch the terrific young champion in action.

Amid much handwringing, which looks more operatic than pugilistic, fingers are pointing every which way, but mostly at HBO.

Traditionally Boxing After Dark starts at a late hour. That’s why it’s called Boxing After Dark. But when that late hour is made later, considerably later in this case by forcing viewers to watch the mismatch between Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri, in some cases a second time, the fight of the night, which was also the fight of the weekend, didn’t end until 1:00 AM Eastern Time.

Those in need of their beauty rest must have woken up ugly Sunday morning.

HBO is also being taken to task for scheduling the fight at the same time as college football. It wasn’t just any college football, however. It was the Iron Ball between Alabama and Auburn, to which 13 million sports fans tuned in.

I don’t know about you, but I need to be drugged and hogtied before watching any college ball, classic or otherwise.

Perhaps I’m the exception rather than the rule, but what percentage of those devotees of college football are devoted fight fans as well? It has to be a small fraction. Watching college boys on the gridiron may be satisfying to some, but it ain’t boxing, and not by a long shot. 

Talk about apples and oranges.

Pacquiao may have slaughtered Algieri and Alabama may have beaten Auburn (thank you Google), but the truth is that boxing, aside from Mayweather and Pacquiao, doesn’t draw eyeballs.

Crawford is a darn good fighter on his way to becoming a darn great fighter. He’s also got a great back-story. With enough time, with enough promotional acumen the likes of which brought us Pacquiao-Algieri and Mayweather-Maidana II, perhaps he can be packaged and sold as a genuine marquee attraction.

Crawford’s not there yet. He may never get there. Only time will tell. But as of now he’s Boxing After Dark worthy, and what goes down in Bryant-Denny Stadium has little or nothing to do with it.

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  1. Bk Don 08:09am, 12/04/2014

    Good piece as always by the Ecksel. I agree that that college football shouldn’t have accounted for the mediocre ratings for boxing. It is important however to note that this rating was lower than Crawford’s previous apperance. Now maybe that’s b/c Gamboa is a more well known name than Beltran. Or it could be the ridiuculously late start time. What other sporting event that garners any respectable ratings starts at midnight? Either way I think it’s a topic that is definitely worthy of discussion.

  2. Eric 01:19pm, 12/03/2014

    Irish…Even back when Ali & the heavyweight divison was winding down, people claimed the best “heavyweights” went into sports like basketball & football instead of boxing. Boxing is too tough of a way to earn a living, that is why it will always be a “poor man’s” game. Makes me think of that scene in, “Rocky II,” where Sly is looking for work. During an unsuccessful interview, the guy asks Rocky, why not fight again, and Stallone answers, was ya punched in the face a thousand times a night, it stings after awhile. teehee. Classic. As for the ahem, “undocumented workers,” they do love soccer and of course boxing, but the “newer” generation of “latinos” are starting to like good ole American football too. I don’t think boxing is going to completely disappear, but I can’t see it bouncing back and becoming a major top tier sport again. The heavyweight champion was always viewed as the toughest man alive, and that probably played a big part in boxing’s popularity. Now with the advent of MMA, the heavyweight boxing champ isn’t automatically bestowed with the mythical title of toughest man alive.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:52pm, 12/03/2014

    Eric-Speaking of beisbol, it literally pisses me off that Stanton signs a contract for $325,000,000 and Kovalev comes out with a meager $125,000 for the public service he performed on Hopkins!

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:47pm, 12/03/2014

    Eric-You got that right again! The Mexican fan base is critical to all of this…..take heart that our replacements i.e. the newly amnestied illegals and those that will come flooding in in the coming years, love futbol, lucha libre, and yes, BOXEO….for some damn reason they seem to love the NBA LA Lakers too….go figure! To paraphrase Celine Dion….“My boxing will go on”.

  5. Eric 12:15pm, 12/03/2014

    Back in the day of poodle skirts & bobby socks, even as recently as the hippies & flower power, baseball & boxing were the two biggest sports in America. Baseball is a distant second behind football only because people don’t care that much for hockey or basketball as a whole. Boxing has dropped even further down. Domination by “foreign” fighters, and MMA have been the root causes for boxing being relegated to third tier status. Even a Pac-Mayweather fight wouldn’t be a major event to the non-boxing crowd, or casual fan. An aging, fat version of Ali could fight hapless “foreign” fighters like Evangelista, Dunn, or Coopman, in boring mismatches back in the day and still generate interest among casual fans nearly 40 years ago. Football replaced the antiquated “slow-paced” sport of baseball as our national pastime, and MMA is the newer, more violent form of entertainment for fans who like to see to humans beat each other up. I would venture to say that even the WWE & NASCAR have a bigger fan base than boxing at this moment, at least as far as the United States is concerned.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:08pm, 12/03/2014

    The only college ball worth watching is softball especially if the pitcher’s “got back” if you get this dirty old man’s drift!

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