10.20.04 – By Coach Tim Walker – firstname.lastname@example.org – I have got to admit that I watched Oscar Dela Hoya’s reality show “The Next Great Champ” a couple of times. It wasn’t a case where I grabbed a cold one, sat on the couch, loosened my belt and tuned into the show. I just sort of came across it as I channel surfed. My biggest weakness is pugilism and I am known to scour the television in search of it.
Who is to say what makes a boxer deserving of a title shot but I was stunned to find out that the World Boxing Organization (WBO) is giving the winner of this reality show a shot at the WBO title. It still sounds weird for me the read that. The already border line sanctioning body lacks some creditability in many people’s eyes and giving one of these guys a title shot does little to improve their claim to legitimacy. Without taking anything away from the combatants who participate in the show I think that does a disservice to the thousands of boxers who lace them up on a regular basis. For those who have waited in line for their chance, who have fought in the smaller venues, who have taken the lower paydays, who have paid the price in the ring over the course of a career this is an immense wrong.
I understand Oscar’s and Endemol USA’s desire to capitalize on the reality show craze but to put a title shot on the line is unfitting at best. What have any of these guys done to deserve a title shot? Any title shot? Nothing! Of the twelve participants half have only an amateur backgrounds and the other half have limited professional experience. The most successful amateur has 14 losses to his credit. Five of them are rapidly approaching 30 years of age or passed it a couple of years ago. There isn’t an amateur national title to be found on any of their resumes. Maybe it’s just me but how on earth do you take inexperienced amateur-like boxers from different weight classes and make them title contenders in less than 3 months? This is a joke! Even the general public sees that there isn’t credible.
If the WBO was hoping to gain a greater level of respect or notoriety by inking its name to this project it was sorrowfully mistaken. The show would have been much better if it had taken professional fighters from one weight class who are really ranked. It might have been much better if they showed the entire fight without the fancy camera angles, slow motion and sound effects. The show would have been better if any of these guys had any legitimacy about them. Even high level amateurs would have presented more boxing skill than most of these guys. The show’s director wanted to create drama yet this drama-filled fiasco has done little for fight fans and less to build the reputation of the WBO and even less towards the effort to get fights on free tv again. Any fight fan who tunes in for the “title bout” between the show’s eventually winner and the reigning divisional champ will probably be more disgusted than anything else. I think it would be difficult for most of these guys to compete with let alone beat any top level A or B level fighters. Hopefully this sad result of a boxing match won’t be on pay per view.