World Championship Boxing's Return to NBC and CBS Will Revitalize the Sport

Michael Walters@mwalters202Correspondent IIDecember 4, 2012

Fighters like Santa Cruz can bring boxing back to the forefront of sports.
Fighters like Santa Cruz can bring boxing back to the forefront of sports.Josh Hedges/Getty Images

This month, boxing fans will get an early holiday gift when professional boxing makes its return to network television.

On Dec. 15, CBS will be broadcasting an IBF title fight when Leo Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13 KOs) takes on undefeated Alberto Guevara (16-0, 6 KOs) in a bantamweight matchup.

Also seeing action will be 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr., who is making his pro debut in a scheduled four-round bout.

This is a brilliant move by Golden Boy and CBS to feature an all-action fighter like Santa Cruz in the network's first televised fight card in more than 15 years.

The Mexican fighter is like a perpetual motion machine who never seems to stop throwing punches and is exactly the kind of boxer who can inject new life into the sport as the careers of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. come to an end.

Also, showing a U.S. Olympian debut on network TV rather than on pay TV will let viewers who may not normally watch boxing see someone that they watched in the Olympics.  

Not to be outdone by their rival network, NBC and promoter Main Events will be putting on a fight card on Dec. 22 that will feature Polish fan-favorite heavyweight Tomasz Adamek (47-2, 29 KOs) taking on Philadelphia's Steve Cunningham (25-4, 12 KOs).

Adamek vs. Cunningham will be a rematch of their 2008 fight, which ended in a split-decision win for the Pole despite knocking down his opponent three times during the course of the fight. 

This fight has the potential to be a fight of the year kind of affair, as both fighters have very fan-friendly styles and will be looking to mix it up in the ring.

What is needed for boxing to become a staple of network TV again is for the promoters to make sure they are putting on fan-friendly fights.

Casual fans, if those still exist, are not interested in seeing the defensive wizardry of a counter puncher like Mayweather or the hit-hold technique now employed by the 47-year-old living legend Bernard Hopkins.

I believe that putting guys on network TV who aren't afraid to take-one-to-give-one and leave it all in the ring is exactly what the sport needs.

You can give me Adamek vs. Cunningham or a Leo Santa Cruz fight any day of the week over a fight between some of the so called pound-for-pound guys.


Michael Walters is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.