America likes big things. Mansions and SUVs and mortgages and so on and so forth….
Same thing in the boxing sphere. A healthy heavyweight division, boasting decent talent and intriguing matchups, can and would set a positive tone for the sport as a whole.
Promoter Lou Dibella is presenting a show on Jan. 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn which boasts some talent and yes, some intrigue. No, no one saying we are anywhere near a heavyweight Golden Age, such as when Ali was the best known being on the planet in the 1970s. But the toppling of the King Klitschko has made it so at the least, we have restored some curiosity in the heavyweight sphere. “Is Deontay Wilder the next big thing? I don't think we know yet,” Dibella told me for his state of the boxing union chat. “But I'm happy to be involved as we see the restored interest in the heavyweight division. Clearly it's wide open. Klitschko was on his last legs, I think, I think we saw that in his last fight against Tyson Fury.So Wilder, he's got punching power, and some skills and yes, some vulnerability. He's colorful too. He's fighting Artur Szpilka, who is a real live underdog. And on the same card, Charles Martin, an American, fighting Czar Glazkov, and if Martin won, I think it would be an upset. But what if another American had a heavyweight belt? For the sport in general here, that would be meaningful. Teddy Brenner said, as goes the heavyweight division, so goes boxing…
“Listen, Klitschko was a great champion. But he fought in Europe, he never rose to be a pay per view attraction. So now it's wide open. You have Alexander Povetkin out there…But if Wilder wins, do we see Wilder-Povetkin next? I don't know. If Martin and Wilder win, what about a unification with two American heavyweights?”
Factionalization among media was touched upon by Dibella in Part 2, and but of course, factionalization in the promotional sphere is as egregious as it has ever been. Al Haymon's PBC emergence was THE boxing story of 2015…the arc of that entity, considering their breadth, is again a must watch dynamic in this space. “PBC has a year under their belt. I think we see them make some corrections, some changes that make the brand stronger,” Dibella said. (Ex Golden Boy boss Richard Schaefer, out of the spotlight since a bitter bust up with Oscar De La Hoya, is as of now, I believe, working for and with PBC.) “And it will be interesting to see what HBO does. There's a new regime, with Peter Nelson out front..will it be business as usual? Or will the door be open to everybody? I'm a big fan of his, I believe he is good for HBO. Anyway, I'm very proud to be associated with PBC events. I think this is going to be a strong year for boxing, in New York and the US, and beyond.”
My take: I concur. I can almost assure you that we will have seen many more fan friendly rumbles at the end of 2016, than we did in 2015. PBC will feature more pickems, I dare say. It's broken record time–when we see the best fighting the best, in coin flip fights, that is a sure fire recipe for more than moderate success, from the fan perspective. Circle back to NYFIGHTS after this year plays out…I do believe the tone of our assessment, from Dibella and all of us, will be a positive one.
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