Join Date: Jun 2006
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I personally hate the term "tv friendly" fighter asthat translates loosely into, "slugger, no defense, limited skills, can either knockout or be knocked out".
I do think you make a point though but I think part of the problem is this. Boxing is one of the FEW sports (and I'm speaking from the US/Stateside of things) where you really can't follow rise of a fighter casually. I think even if you're a hard-core fan you can't follow the rise of guys because a lot of amateur stuff isn't televised.
That said, I think what happens is the average viewing fan doesn't know how to recognize or appreciate a skilled boxer. IMO you have these levels of fighters.
Poor- These are guys who not only aren't in shape but probably were picked up from the latest tough man contest. Examples.. None other than KIMBO Slice and the guy who he was fighting.
Fair- They understand how to pace themselves, can throw most punches and they do actually train. They can be entertaining and if they're more active or have punching power, they "CAN" beat a guy with a higher skill level.. Examples..
Decent/Good - This is a wide category and a lot of boxers fall in here. These are guys who do one thing good but may have other holes. These are also guys may have been "very good" or are vets that are now shop worn. Examples are "Gatekeeper guys (Zab Judah, Vivian Harris, Chop Chop Corley), Pavlik, etc...
Very Good- IMO these are the guys STRICTLY that should be on the premium networks. These are guys who do MULTIPLE things good.
Elite/Excellent - IMO there's less than 10 of these in the sport. These are guys who not only do multiple things good, they do them EXCELLENT. They also have the ability to make a "Very Good" fighter look like a "good" or "fair" fighter.
Examples.. Money, Pac, Martinez, Klitchko, Donaire, Hopkins, Ward, etc.
If more casual fans KNEW how to grade fighters, the networks would know how to match up or choose fighters. Frankly more often than not, a lot of match-making deals more with how a fighter "draws".
I will say this though, ESPN's FRIDAY night FIGHTS this year has been more entertaining than HBOs fights.