Remembering the Prize Fighter.
The Sweet Science.com is carrying a story about the Bob Arum’s move from HBO to Showtime-CBS — and the potential of putting “terrestrial television” aka plain-vanilla broadcast TV back into the mix. The main thrust of Bob Arum and Top Rank’s deal is giving him “ad spots and live coverage during CBS programming [that] will run either the first or last episode of a four-part promotional countdown to the fight show on CBS in prime time (the others will run on SHOWTIME). In addition, Top Rank will be allowed to sell ad spots that help cover the production costs of that show.” [Link to the full article here.]
This is pretty heady stuff and puts in my such glory days of boxing as the kind of main event fights that played on broadcast television from the 1950’s on through the great warrior battles of Muhammad Ali well into the 1970’s.
The net effect of Arum’s move to Showtime-CBS will certainly bring more viewers for his upcoming Cotto-Mayorga fight, but more importantly will give him time to promote Manny Pacquiao’s May 7th fight: a cross back into the realm of broadcast television thereby burnishing the place of the prize fighter in American lore.
Imagine this — the deal includes live promotion on CBS Morning Show and will also feature Christy Martin on CBS Talk Shows. As well, in the run up to the Pacquiao fight, a feature spot will run on 60 Minutes one week prior to the fight.
As I’ve stated in an earlier column on the popularity of The Fighter and the splash that the new series Lights On is having on FX, boxing has found new life as people begin to view boxing as a way of battling through their own issues large and small. For the fighter, it may still be a way out of “Palookaville,” but for the rest of us it’s a way out of powerlessness in a world that is moving way to fast for its own good. I don’t know enough about the promoting game to be a fan one way or another of Bob Arum, but what I can say, is that his move to the wider audience of broadcast television shows that he is in touch with the subtle changes in the place of boxing on the American consciousness. From the perspective of boostering women’s boxing, Bob Arum is also placing his money on the future place of women’s boxing in the prize fighting game, and given where we are vis-a-vis the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, that is a great thing.
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