British Fight Fans Lose Out As Froch Reigns Supreme

By Ziggy Shah: It seems as though the trend to take fights ‘to the wire’ is becoming more and more frequent in the sport of boxing. Seven months ago Shane Mosley produced a thrilling 12th round flurry to stop Ricardo Mayorga after being behind on the scorecards. And on Saturday night, Carl Froch also came from behind to spectacularly TKO Jermaine Taylor with only 14 seconds remaining in the final round. The ‘late finish’ is always dramatic and adds an extra dimension to viewing pleasure. For those old enough to remember, who could forget the late rally by J.C Chavez against Taylor in 1990 and more recently, the late Corrales KO of Castillio in the 2005 fight of the year..

But for many British fight fans, despite Frochs victory, there was pure disappointment on the night, as all the national TV companies failed to air the fight live. Programme schedules and TV contractual rights apparently made it difficult for all the channels to give air time.

Whatever the excuses were for not showing the fight, the fact remains that the British boxing fans were robbed of watching a great fight as it happened.

As soon as the fight was made, it had ‘potential fight of the year’ written all over it, as former Undisputed Middleweight Champion, JermainTaylor, who was coming of two defeats to Kelly Pavlik and a lacklustre performance against Jeff Lacy, had a point to prove.

And in the opposite corner you had the newly crowned champion, who wanted to prove himself after winning the title in another ‘fight of the year’ contender against Jean Pascal. You did not have to be an Einstein to work out that this one was going to be explosive.

One wonders if the outcome of the TV companies’ decision would have been the same if Ricky Hatton or Joe Calzaghe had defended their title in the states. I think so.

However, the failure to air the fight meant that many British fans had to watch live streams of the fight on the internet, with constant buffering and weak connections taking away the drama, heart and passion that was being displayed by both boxers at the MGM Grand.

ITV did however, after the fight, agree to show the fight the next day, but does that compensate for the thrill of not knowing the outcome? I think not. I feel that the boxing fan was once again sold short to fat cats and money men, who put money first.

In short, I think it was a disgrace, as Carl Froch is Britain’s only reigning world champion and his first defence was against an opponent who was regarded as ‘World Class.’ What he needed was the support and exposure from all those involved in the frenzy of the media world. But what he got was the exact opposite as ITV waited until the outcome of the fight before they decided to show a 24 hour delay to the disgruntled and disappointed fight fans.

However, what are needed now are firm promises by the TV companies that important fights both national and international will be aired on terrestrial TV, and most importantly, they will treat boxing fans with dignity and respect.

Article posted on 27.04.2009

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