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Why no one cares about boxing undercards

(Now if only Mosley had shown that kind of intensity…)

Since there are no major MMA events until the 28th (sorry, Bellator) and Manny Pacquiao vs Shane Mosley just happened on Saturday, you’re going to be getting a lot of boxing posts today from people about as qualified to write about boxing as they are to give your mom a thorough cervical exam. At least this article from MMA Junkie tries to tie things into MMA. John Morgan asks Top Rank president Todd DuBoef why boxing fans don’t give a shit about catching the undercard and instead only show up for the main event.

“I think the supply of content for MMA or UFC was so limited early on that the fans used to want to see all of the fights, so they used to come early,” duBoef said. “They didn’t have all these platforms to see it. That’s No. 1. All the MMA fans would get there early because they were enthusiasts, passionate and connected to the product. They had been watching online. They had been reading about it, and they didn’t have this enormous amount of content that was available to them on a weekly basis, so those matches were so unique – supply and demand. I think each exciting event was like, ‘Yes, I’m watching live. I’m at the show,’ and each thing was significant.

“Boxing is distributed on Hispanic channels, ESPN, and all over. You have tons of content out there. The uniqueness of each match is lost.”

It’s an unfortunate reality for boxing, especially considering super-lightweight prospects such as Canadian Pier Oliver Cote (16-0), who delivered a third-round TKO of Aris Ambriz, and 18-year-old Jose Benavidez Jr. (11-0), who outclassed James Hope en route to a fifth-round TKO, went unnoticed by thousands of fight fans who had not yet entered the building.

duBoef admits it’s unfortunate those preliminary-card fighters didn’t get more live-audience attention but insists it’s all by design and but a small piece of the overall puzzle.

“When a fight is in Las Vegas, the casinos want the players at the tables,” duBoef said. “Those guys are going to gamble, and about 7 o’clock, the casino goes, ‘Let’s go. We’re about an hour from the main event,’ and they’re going to pull them off those baccarat tables and craps tables. They have it timed to a tee. They know I’m not going to walk main event before 8 p.m. local time, and they understand that they’ll fill the time before that with gambling because that’s massive business for them. The customer, the high-end player that’s being brought here for these events, are very high rollers.

“And remember, you’re only talking about 16,000 people. We’ve got global distribution. I’m in 170 different countries and over one billion homes. Yes, from a live perspective, of those 16,000 people, if only 5,000 people see Benavidez, and I’m losing 11,000 viewers; I get it. But I’m distributing it vis-à-vis through online mechanisms, through my international television mechanisms and all that stuff. It still gets broad distribution, but not through the butts in the seats of the arena.”

I dunno, what that says to me is that even the people who care enough to spend megabucks on tickets don’t care enough about boxing to … watch boxing. The part where DeBoef claims the empty arena is ‘all by design’ blows my mind. Is he trying to put on an awesome event or does boxing exist now more as a sideshow attraction to draw in gamblers attention like a Wayne Newton concert than an exciting sport that spectators should be eager to watch?

In the end, the comments from Dana White ring truest: “When boxing has exciting fighters, boxing will do well.” If people thought they’d get some great fights out of the undercard, they’d actually show up.

  • Blackula Jonez

    In the end, the comments from Dana White ring truest: “When boxing has exciting fighters, boxing will do well.” If people thought they’d get some great fights out of the undercard, they’d actually show up.


    But isn’t that contradicted by the comments Duboef made about the two finishes on the prelims.


    Your casual boxing fan only cares about big name fighters first and foremost, if a guy is a violent entertaining finisher it is certainly not a bad thing but until that fighter puts up consistant highlight reel finishes in title matches or takes out a superstar CASUAL FANS DON’T CARE.

    Anybody remember how Pacquiao became a star, he was only known to hardcores before the De La Hoya fight and was a superstar when he took him out. If exciting fights made a difference Pacmans last 3 fights should be ruining his stock in the eyes as fans. The Margacheato fight was okay but the Clottey and Mosely were total snoozefest.

  • Reverend Clint

    like black said if it was a case of excitement no one would ever watch boxing since ive seen square dancing that had more excitement and less hugging

  • Sodomize Intolerance

    I showed up to UFC 129 at 5:00 to make sure I didn’t miss a minute of the prelims.

    What did I get in return?

    A flying triangle choke, a spinning backfist KO, a slick, skilled triangle choke, and elbow-in-the-face TKO…and Claude Patrick…

    Worth every minute to show up early for that.  MMA has fights, boxing has names.

  • CAP

    Pacquao/Mosely was not very entertaining imo. The hype leading up led me to believe their styles would produce a great fight but it was pretty lackluster.

    Mosely had LL Cool J lead him out singing “Momma’s gonna Knock You Out!” which was kinda cool. But then Manny comes out with the lead singer of Survivor singing “Eye of the Tiger!!!!!!” WTF is going on??

    The event reminded me of the superbowl a little bit with them cramming stars down our throats for “entertainment value”. Do we really need Jamie Foxx singing America the Beautiful? What, couldn’t get Taylor Swift? Sure glad I didn’t pay for that.

  • frickshun

    Sodomizer–>your quote sums it up perfectly: “MMA has fights, boxing has names.”

  • G Funk

    CAP, Eye of the tiger guy is like the phillipino Hasselhoff to Germany. They don’t even know what an LL cool J is.

    Mosely looks like a darker Terrance Howard.

  • fightlinker

    But isn’t that contradicted by the comments Duboef made about the two finishes on the prelims.”

    Yeah sounds like this event had some interesting moments but people are trained to expect shitty decisions and fighters no one cares about. Maybe that’s part of that casino gambling plan :-p

  • scissors61

    Well, I would make the point that the high rollers this guy is talking about aren’t really there to watch boxing whether the prelims are amazing or not. They’re there to gamble, to schmooze, to see and be seen (or at least 99.9% of them are). The impression I’ve always gotten is that the high rollers/celebs are at boxing fights as an excuse to get comped rooms and party in Vegas, not watch pugilism. It’s funny, reading this article I thought about Ed Fishman. This is the exact business model he wanted to institute when he tried to purchase PRIDE. He wanted to use it as a high-profile casino attraction in southeast Asia. 

  • iamphoenix

  • frickshun


    Why is the ref forcing that $5 footlong in Shane’s mouf? Is that legal in boxing?

  • CAP

    NICE!! I wish Mosely had that much enthusiasm during the fight.

  • KeilaH

    When it comes to boxing, people would do stop their work just to watch this popular sport. The last event on Saturday makes the whole world have a free time to watch the fight. Well, as we expected, Manny Pacquiao has won. Congratulations to him! I know that there are several people who took out short term installment loan just to buy tickets for that one biggest events of the year.