The first words I wrote on this site were how the world of boxing had kicked off 2022 without a thing of note going on. I wanted to provide everyone with an update from my view on the couch. Man, these have been some lean weeks. However, I can officially say that boxing is finally here. Thank goodness cause these past two months in the sport have provided everyone with enough apathy; you'd think it was intentional.
There were fights, man, stop this madness.
So am I downplaying that boxing in some fashion has well been taking place the last eight weeks to start the year? I'll compare it to a bear shitting in the woods. Just know it happened, and if you watched these ESPN+ cards that took place across the pond, you saw the dump the bear took. I'll argue sun up to sun down that bear had better form. Seriously, it's pretty appalling how wretched these cut-rate, low-budget boxing productions they decided to trot out. The app itself already makes it feel like you found an easter egg to search and watch the cards. Once you find the cards, you are greeted to television so bad that the only thing missing was a few friends to watch with “Cheap Seats” or “Mystery Science Theater 3000” style.
It can't be that bad, Marquis, can it? Let me give you a sample of what you seriously didn't miss on this app.
First, they have the broadcast team remote, and poor Joe Tessitore is coming from what looks like every interrogation room in every crime show ever made. So you already have the disconnect of the group not being ringside for these fights because, well, they aren't. The pandemic has made “work from home” an option for obvious reasons for everyone in the world. Boxing was one of the first to trot it out stateside with “bubble shows”. That same lack of ambiance doing it in 2020 hasn't moved an inch in 2022 and hasn't gotten any better.
I'll save you all the quality of production of these cards since the ESPN simulcast from Sky Sports handed them with the same care you see a phone number on a dive bar bathroom stall. Call it at your own risk and go YOLO in the event something or someone picks up.
This is what the hardcore boxing fan gets on an app bundled with Disney and Hulu, and I still feel genuinely ripped off about my investment. At least it wasn't my useless DAZN subscription. I'll get to that later.
The in-ring action wasn't any better on The Plus.
Indeed, the action in the ring can compensate for the questionable presentation, right? If it did, the scorecards from that controversial and tremendously sloppy Josh Taylor win this past weekend wouldn't have been so alarming. Instead, the co-main event had former Olympian standout Robeisy Ramirez take on a fighter known more for his commentating on Olympic Games in Eric Donovan.
Suppose that beatdown didn't tickle your fancy. How about a heavyweight in Jay McFarlane, who came out as cosplay Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies, taking on a prospect that knew how to throw one punch for over seven rounds. It's a hell of a visual.
Let's ignore that they put up some fake Scottish heavyweight title belt that was on the line for the first time in seventy one years after the fight with good reason. Let's also double down on the fact that McFarlane was looking for an out as he was seeing death staring at his corner to toss the towel in, so they could go home for the night. Just bad television all around, and if last Saturday's card was your first time into boxing, I'm sorry.
Seriously, it's more promising than this.
That isn't to say that all the boxing has sucked until now. Showtime had an actual fight card last weekend that didn't have controversy, poor judging, or the usual boxing semantics. It even made you some coin if you had picked the upsets. Those have been interesting during this stretch. Matchroom Boxing had a rare Sunday card that, for the most part, was as exciting as the laundry I was doing in real-time. Despite that, it provided single-handedly the most unreal knockout I've seen by Jordan Gill. Especially after getting a harmful DDT in the ring and was essentially immobile from that point of the fight.
But his right hand was still working and got him the win.
ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE 🤯
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 27, 2022
But what about DAZN?
Oh, I couldn't forget last week's DAZN announcement of finally getting off their “pay-per-view is dead” garbage? I'll just defer you to the poor sap running that DAZN Boxing Twitter account having to resort to automated responses that read the same way tweets to McDonald's do involving their use of real meat. Pretty comical and embarrassing but expected, considering this is what boxing does. Bait and switch its audience.
The original sentiment around PPV as a default being a broken model in boxing is something we stand by.
For the very occasional events such as this that necessitate PPV, we now have the flexibility to explore fighters, mega fights & innovative partnerships previously impossible.
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 26, 2022
The DAZN app came here years ago with the tag line “the end of pay-per-view”. It seems that plans have changed, and that is no longer the case. The reason is simple, they signed Canelo to a two-fight deal, and the golden ticket in that deal was the third fight, with Gennady Golovkin being the 2nd part of it. While it's nice of DAZN to chase the ghosts and few remains of HBO Sports here, that nostalgia comes at the price and having to backpedal.
“The original sentiment around PPV as a default being a broken model in boxing is something we stand by. For the very occasional events such as this that necessitate PPV, we now have the flexibility to explore fighters, mega fights & innovative partnerships previously impossible,” is the response that was spouted about the PPV model being implemented from the DAZN social media account over the weekend.
What a crock of shit that statement is.
A simple question to anyone who is reading. How “innovative” is it for someone to ask you for more money on top of what you are already paying for? Not very.
Considering the programming currently on the app, this announcement has you wondering in North America what are you really paying for at this point. Besides these cards and a few other minor programs for $20/monthly, what are you getting? This isn't a consumer report here, but even though ESPN+ for boxing is treated like a glory hole, the other sports on the app are done better and offer more. DAZN has retro fights that you have seen already and honestly are still up for public consumption on YouTube if you need that fix.
Canelo Alvarez is the sport at the end of the day, and he's on DAZN for the short term here. We'll see how far this app presses this “innovative option” onto everyone's wallet for the year.
Thankfully, it's better from there.
So what is giving me hope that it's getting better? Easy, as good old Jim Ross would say, “business is about to pick up.”
In the ring, future hall of Famer Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez looks to make one last title run as he steps into the ring this weekend in San Diego. Former champion Jose Ramirez and potential future champion Vergil Ortiz Jr. are also in action in March as they look to start their 2022s in the ring. Not the strongest month of cards, but there are enough marathon-style to keep the line moving.
This week, the yapping continues as the heavyweight champion Tyson Fury began his press conference minus his opponent, mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte. There is a concise list of fighters that when they talk, you listen. Fury quickly makes that list. Also, Wednesday, the king of the sport, Canelo Alvarez, speaks and prepares his boxing year. Errol Spence also talks in preparation for his fight in April in his native Dallas. Three of the top names in the sport, respectively, are why I'm officially championing this week of the start of the 2022 boxing season. We also have the unofficial but official fight announcements of Ryan Garcia and the rest of Golden Boy Promotions schedule. The rest of the Premier Boxing Champions schedule also is coming. I have more Probellum signing notices than fight cards, which changes course shortly, I expect.
Everyone should have many fights and fighters we can all get behind heading into the spring, which keeps the sport afloat. Just in the nick of time, considering so far this year, you can count your favorite in-ring moments so far on your hand. It looks like, after this month, you may run out of limbs.
You can follow Marquis Johns on Twitter @weaksauceradio .