Category Archives: Boxing

What to Watch During (and after*) Quarantine

By Griffin Olah

Submitted: April 16, 2020/Published: June 2, 2020

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

[*Editor’s Note: With apologies to Griffin Olah and readers of Maxwell Media Watch, this insightful entry was submitted during a semester when everything suddenly went online. I should have published it earlier, but hopefully it still provides useful tips for media alternatives to live sporting events in the meantime. N. Spencer].

If you’re anything like me, you miss sports. With COVID-19 shutting down every sports league (we’ll ignore Dana White’s “fighting island”), I need something to quench my thirst for more sports. Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives that can get us all through quarantine while not spending a fortune.

One of the first things I discovered, with the help of Twitter, was the massive MLB library on YouTube. That’s right, Major League Baseball stores broadcasts on both its own YouTube channel, MLB, and on another, the MLB Vault (Langs et. al, 2020). This allows you to go back to see any memorable game in MLB history that has aired on television. Personally, I’ve enjoyed myself watching Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (the game ended with the rain delay), the 2017 Indians winning streak and the wildly entertaining 2019 Home Run Derby match-up between Joc Pederson and Vlad Guerrero Jr. There’s enough there to spend entire days watching baseball, and maybe you’ll even find some hidden gems that you forgot happened.

The NFL has a similar vault of games, but they house it in its own website, NFL Game Pass. Although it usually requires a subscription, the NFL made Game Pass free to all users through May 31, 2020 (NFL.com, 2020). Game Pass has an archive of all games played since the 2009 season, from preseason all the way through the playoffs and the Super Bowl. It also has access to many of NFL Network’s series, including A Football Life, America’s Game, SoundFX and more. I’ve spent a lot of time watching old Browns replays, including the 2018 game against the New York Jets that debuted Baker Mayfield, the 2009 game against the Chiefs that Jerome Harrison played out of his mind, and the America’s Game episode of the 2009 Saints. 

If you aren’t against spending money, however, the ever-popular ESPN+ might be for you. For only $5 a month, you can have access to a massive library of ESPN shows, replays and films. ESPN has streaming deals with many collegiate sports conferences, the NHL, UFC and boxing organizations, allowing many past games and competitions on their platform. I’ve spent hours in the 30 for 30 library and watching old UFC fights featuring Stipe Miocic. If you’re still bored and you want some non-sport action to watch, ESPN+ also can be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu for $12.99 a month. 

If live action is what you’re craving, however, then eSports might fill that void for you. At the forefront of eSports is NASCAR, with its iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Using real drivers on iRacing, a platform most already use for practice, NASCAR is simulating the missed events of their season (Nicholson, 2020). The simulated races are also aired on Fox, so NASCAR fans can watch just like any other race.

Going along with eSports, the MLB has taken initiative with its MLB The Show Player’s League. Each team has selected one player to represent them through a series of three-inning games on the popular video game franchise (Toribio, 2020). Each player streams their games on their own Twitch page, which works similar to YouTube, so you can hear their commentary in real time. Cincinnati Red pitcher Amir Garrett and Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo have already proven to be both wildly entertaining to watch and incredibly good at the game. I’ve watched some highlights, and I’ll be tuning in whenever Garrett and Gallo take the virtual field again.

Finally, the NBA has attempted to offer another alternative with live action- a HORSE tournament. Current and former NBA and WNBA stars are pitted against each other in the classic basketball game in each of their home gyms (Gartland, 2020). While reception has mostly been negative, with many people claiming the games are too boring or citing internet problems, basketball fans may still be enjoyed. I haven’t tuned into any of the matchups, but if you’re starved for some basketball, it might be right for you. The competitions do air live on ESPN, so anyone interested in watching will have to tune in in real time.

Obviously, there is no true alternative to live sports action, but we can come close. Whether replays are your thing or not, there are tons of options to watch until we get sports back, whenever that may be. Until then, take a look through all of these services and find your favorite, or maybe find something new that’s not discussed here. Either way, good luck with filling your sports void and I hope these can get us all through until the return of sports.

References

Gartland, D. (2020, April 13). ESPN’s NBA HORSE competition was tough to watch. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from: https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2020/04/13/espn-nba-horse-tournament-highlights

Langs, S., Simon, A., Randhawa, M., & Catania, J. (2020, March 14). One classic game to watch online from each MLB team. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/classic-mlb-games-to-watch-online

NFL.com. (2020, March 18). NFL offers fans free access to NFL Game Pass. NFL.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001106855/article/nfl-offers-fans-free-access-to-nfl-game-pass

Nicholson, J. (2020, March 18). NASCAR launches eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. eSports Insider. Retrieved from: https://esportsinsider.com/2020/03/enascar-iracing-pro-invitational-series/

Toribio, J. (2020, April 10). 30 stars to compete in ‘MLB The Show’ league. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/30-stars-compete-in-mlb-the-show-players-league

Wild Display of Fury Puts Boxing Back on the Map?

By Griffin Olah

March 11, 2020

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey

On February 20, 2020, two of the top heavyweight boxers in today’s game met in Las Vegas for a championship bout. WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder stood across the legendary Irish giant Tyson Fury for a rematch years in the making. With the WBC Heavyweight Championship on the line, boxing was ready to shine again.

Wilder and Fury met once before in December 2018, where their bout drew 325 thousand pay-per-view (PPV) viewers, which was the tenth largest PPV audience for a fight since the Paquiao-Mayweather superfight in 2015 (World Boxing News, 2019). Their first fight was a wildly entertaining disputed draw ending that captivated viewers. It didn’t do much, however, to push boxing back to the forefront of the casual sports viewer. It did create a perfect backdrop to a fight that may be able to bring boxing back to its former glory.

After all the announcements and pre-fight press conferences, the hype for Fury-Wilder II was at its peak. FOX and ESPN decided to co-promote the bout, which pushed it to an even larger audience than their first fight. Pre-fight PPV estimates ranged from 1 to 2 million viewers (John Wall Street, 2020a). For context, that would be the most viewed PPV fight since the Paquiao-Mayweather fight that drew in 4.6 million viewers, but turned them away bored and disappointed by their purchase (World Boxing News, 2019). The hope is that this superfight can leave viewers happier than the failings of Paquiao-Mayweather.

Amid all the theatrics of putting on a fight, like Fury coming out on a chariot adorning a crown and Wilder wearing a 45 pound costume that may or may not have slowed him during the fight, was a wildly entertaining championship match. Tyson Fury dominated Deontay Wilder throughout the seven-round bout, and ended the battle in a stunning TKO victory with 1:39 left in the round (Campbell, 2020). 

After the hype and dust settled on the Gypsy King’s massive victory, the shine of boxing seemed on the borderline to return. The fight brought in an unprecedented $17 million in gate sales, which passed the gate record set by Lewis-Holyfield II in 1999 (Mazique, 2020). There were also between 800,000 and 850,000 PPV sales of the match, which is the fifth most watched fight since Mayweather-Paqiuao (John Wall Street, 2020b; World Boxing News, 2019). While the number of sales was much lower than initial estimates, it is believed that between 10 and 20 million people illegally streamed the fight (John Wall Street, 2020b). Illegal streams don’t help the sales and money generation for the fighters, promoters and everyone else involved, but they are a large indicator of the interest in boxing. With possibly 30 million viewers, Wilder-Fury II would easily eclipse the known 1.3 million viewers of Mayweather-Paquiao (World Boxing News, 2019).

Twitter seemed to collectively enjoy the fight, with many influential athletes praising Fury’s performance. High-profile athletes such as LeBron James and JJ Watt showed the fight’s successes, along with reactions from other high-profile sportscasters like Jemele Hill. 

One fight is not indicative of the return of boxing, but a success like Wilder-Fury II definitely helps. When people think of boxing, the most thought of modern fight is the Mayweather-Pacquiao snoozefest that drove away the hype of the sport. Now, an entertaining, classic title fight has taken the reigns and can drive more people to the sport. So, is boxing back? No, not yet, but the increased interest and media coverage will certainly help the sport return to the forefront of American sports coverage.

References

Campbell, B. (2020, February 23). Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 fight results: ‘Gypsy King’ obliterates the ‘Bronze Bomber’ for TKO win. CBS Sports. Retrieved from: https://www.cbssports.com/boxing/news/deontay-wilder-vs-tyson-fury-2-fight-results-gypsy-king-obliterates-the-bronze-bomber-for-tko-win/live/

James, L [@KingJames]. (2020, February 23). His corner did he a FAVOR straight up!! No question about it. Equilibrium was super off and he may have…[Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/KingJames/status/1231455012624027650?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1231455012624027650&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fsports.yahoo.com%2Ffans-react-twitter-social-media-tyson-fury-dominant-win-deontay-wilder-rematch-las-vegas-062354330.html

John Wall Street. (2020a, February 21). ‘Unprecedented’ co-promotion should enable Wilder-Fury 2 to hit one million PPV buys benchmark. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from: https://www.si.com/johnwallstreet/sports-business/wilder-fury-2

John Wall Street. (2020b, March 3). Between 10 million and 20 million fans ripped off Wilder-Fury II, piracy symptom of larger problem. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from: https://www.si.com/johnwallstreet/sports-business/wilder-fury-piracy

Mazique, B. (2020, February 22). Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 2: Massive live gate breaks heavyweight record. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianmazique/2020/02/22/deontay-wilder-vs-tyson-fury-2-massive-live-gate-breaks-heavyweight-record/#5dbfde6e12e5

Watt, JJ [@JJWatt]. (2020, February 23). Wow. What a fight.#WildervsFury2[Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/JJWatt/status/1231454181984276480?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1231454181984276480&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fsports.yahoo.com%2Ffans-react-twitter-social-media-tyson-fury-dominant-win-deontay-wilder-rematch-las-vegas-062354330.html

World Boxing News. (2019, September 4). Top fifteen US pay-per-views since Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao. WorldBoxingNews. Retrieved from: https://www.worldboxingnews.net/2019/04/09/top-15-ppv-floyd-mayweather-manny-pacquiao/

I Got 99 Problems but a Fight Ain’t One

By Kaleb Page

April 3, 2015

For years and years the talk of Mayweather-Pacquiao seemed like a far-fetched idea that would never materialize into what we all want to see.

Then the gift was given via social media on February 20, 2015. It was time, time to see what so many still debate over. Mayweather or Pacquiao, Pacquiao or Mayweather?

Set for May 2, 2015 the fight of the century will take place in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. For Mayweather the fight holds a lot at stake. Not only does his unbeaten record of 47-0 hang in the balance, but also does the thought that Mayweather is the best fighter in the world and nearly untouchable.

As for the ‘Pac Man’ an equal amount hangs in the balance as well. There were the grumblings in the past that Mayweather was running from Pacquiao, and if Pacquiao defeats Mayweather the legend of Manny Pacquiao will grow substantially since he will be the first person to defeat Floyd.

As the hype continues to build and the days dwindle until May 2, a new release may cause some to take a second opinion on how bad they actually want to see the fight.

Reports from Deadspin.com have this fight as on of the most expensive pay-per-view buys in the history of boxing. The negotiations are on going but a standard definition Mayweather-Pacquiao pay-per-view will be sold for the modest price of $89. Now if you are feeling the urge to splurge, the fight will also be offered at the high-definition price of $99.

Is that price too much? The article poised the same question and did say it was a hefty price but when the fight of the century comes along doesn’t it warrant a big price?

It is harder to do like you could if say a UFC event was taking place and you wanted to watch it without shelling out a lot of money. With UFC events you can watch pay-per-views, Fox Sports One fights, etc. at your local Buffalo Wild Wings.

Unless this pay-per-view does it that way as well, which I haven’t seen any boxing fights that way in recent memory, it looks like the only way to watch is paying the price.

The price is reasonable given the demand. It’s smart business on the part of not only the promoters but the fighters as well; since they will see a cut (primarily Mayweather) of the buys along with the gate towards their purse.

The price is also reasonable if you have a group of friends over and split the cost, and if you are going to spend the money you might as well get the high-definition (smart move to just make it $10 more). So get some friends, some food, and enjoy boxing at its highest level.

I got 99 problem but the price ain’t one. (well, sorta)

As for my analysis and prediction on the fight you can read below. It will be interesting to watch this fight unfold and as always in a fight; anything can happen.

  • If Pacquiao can find a way to cut off Mayweather almost like Miguel Cotto did when he fought Mayweather, he can naturalize the speed with which Floyd moves around the ring. From there Manny needs to find a way to open up Floyd, since ‘Pac Man’ is a southpaw he can look to use his own movement to get Mayweather out of position setting up a straight left or a solid hook. Ultimately, Pacquiao has to find a way to touch a man with great defense and with the power Manny possess he can find a shot to drop Floyd. That is a big if as it is hard to touch Floyd as the last person to really give Floyd was Cotto. If Manny wants is to win it will be by KO.
  • For Mayweather its simple use the speed, length and defense to your advantage. Take the counters that you can from the southpaw and exit, stuff that Floyd is exceptional at doing. Not sure if with this fight Floyd will go for that KO in later rounds, but it is unlikely as the amount of power is not as high as Manny’s. Floyd has to put on a show with his feet and not walk his way into a powerful Pacquiao hook or uppercut. However, Mayweather has more ways of taking the fight and just has too much speed.

Final Decision: Mayweather wins by decision. 

Hard to not pick a guy who is that good and undefeated.

Where is Boxing? Hopkins Claims Race is the Issue

In an interview this past weekend, light-heavyweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins was quoted as saying the reason his story in boxing goes un-avoided in the media is because he is black. This Saturday Hopkins 55-6-2 (32 KO’s) takes on Sergey Kovalev 25-0-1(23 KO’s) in a light-heavyweight championship bout in Atlantic City, NJ.

“It’s because I’m black. What do you think if my name was Augustine, Herzenstein, Stern? Cappello? Marciano?…If I was any of those names of any other background, I’d be on every billboard and every milk carton and every place to be. If we’re talking ‘American Dream,’ here’s a guy who almost threw his life away and he took this great country’s great attributes and used it — do for self, work hard and be a law-abiding citizen. I’ve done that for 26 years.”

Hopkins, who has the record for the oldest fighter to win and defend world titles, will only be 2 months away from turning 50 years old this Saturday. Hopkins was released from prison in 1988 after serving over 4 years before he began his boxing career.

It’s not an unknown fact that boxing’s popularity has taken a hit in the recent decade. Despite new marketing approaches, campaigns and TV commercials, boxing has struggled to make money in pay-per-view events that do not include Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s name.

What happened to the excitement of the 20th century boxing fight? The trash talk of Sugar Ray Leonard, the pre-fight antic of Muhammad Ali, the posters around every major city advertising the title fight? All of these things are missing from boxing today.

So is race really the reason, Hopkins story and his fight v. Kovalev goes unnoticed in the media or is it just attributed to the lack of popularity towards boxing? Not in my opinion. This isn’t the first time Hopkins has made media headlines for something controversial he has said to the media.

See here. Oh, and here is this.

I’m not here to personally attack Mr. Hopkins. I just don’t put much into his claims of race being the issue his story in boxing isn’t covered, when the largest superstar in his sport is of the same ethnicity. However what Hopkins does point out is that boxing lacks the media attention it once had. The even harsher truth is that boxing has a serious problem coming ahead for them when Floyd Mayweather retires fall of next year.

Mayweather is the perfect example of why race is not the issue at hand. Mayweather, an african-american, is the most popular fighter in the United States. In a sport that lacks the demanding respect and popularity it once did during the 20th century, Mayweather is even known by people around the world by people who have never even seen him fight.

While boxing has always had its media superstars like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and currently Mayweather as mentioned, there is yet to be a boxer anywhere near comparable to Mayweather’s media-attention level.

The UFC is also to blame for the unpopularity of boxing today. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and other Mixed Martial Arts leagues like StrikeForce and Bellator now dominate the youth demographic. The sport, which includes boxing, also adds the excitement of Judo, Wrestling, Jit-Jitsu and other forms of hand combat which is a main factor in its popularity rise over boxing. The sport is faster paced and includes increased brutality compared to boxing which can also contributes to the excitement that has drawn fans in.

The United States has a great history in the sport of boxing. However, in our modern-day the United States may not even be the best country in boxing anymore. For the sake of the sport, and the future of it here in the United States, the boxing community as a whole will need to evaluate and make changes for the betterment of the sport.