ESPN’s Dan Rafael has some good news:
Fox Sports Net, which has had sporadic boxing coverage since the demise of the live “Sunday Night Fights” a few years ago, will begin airing notable overseas title bouts on a tape-delay basis about once per month as part of “Best Damn Sports Show Period.”
Boxing’s a global sport these days. Many of the best fighters in the world hail from overseas. Sometimes, attractive bouts aren’t made in the United States because one prospective opponent is not an American. FSN may not have a huge reach, but this should help the profile of deserving foreign boxers. And if FSN handles it right, it could be a ratings boost for the network.
While more boxing on TV is definitely a good thing in light of the demise of Telefutura Solo Boxeo and ESPN’s Wednesday Night Fights, I’d say to FSN that it should choose its bouts wisely. Good choice: By the end of 2008, it will air the slugfest between super middleweights (168 lbs.) Carl Froch and Jean Pascal. Froch could end up fighting Jermain Taylor next, and I can envision a wide variety of fans wanting to check out Froch between now and any time that fight is signed; besides, it was a helluva fight. Bad choice: In January, it might air light heavyweight (175 lbs.) titleholder Zsolt Erdei against the latest entrant from his “bum of the month” club. Erdei won’t ever fight in the U.S., and won’t ever be in a meaningful (read: interesting) fight, judging by the last few years of nobodies he’s set up and knocked down. What good would airing that fight do anyone? I suppose German-Americans and the most hardcore of hardcore fans might check it out. And if it can figure out a way to air well-chosen fights live instead of on tape delay…