ESPN Friday Night Fights Is as Stale as Week Old Bread

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIJanuary 11, 2010

9 Nov 1996:  Michael Moorer (left) poses with Teddy Atlas after a bout against Francois Botha at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Moorer won the fight with a TKO in the tenth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
Al Bello/Getty Images

Friday night, I’m settling in with a nice large pepperoni pie with extra cheese and a six pack of Faceplant Pale Ale.

ESPN Friday Night Fights is on.

Finally, I can focus on something, anything, besides the Pacquiao-Mayweather affair.

I’m looking forward to some great fights. Getting a glimpse at some up and comers. Get me excited about the sport after the acrimony of the last three weeks.

Alas, the only thing palatable was my pie and beer.

Last Friday, we were treated to the following bouts:


Andrey Fedosov (20-1) vs. Lionel Butler (32-15-1) (Heavyweight)

Isaac Atencio (2-1-1) vs. Anatoliy Dudchecnko (6-2) (Light heavyweight)

Roman Karmazin (39-3-1) vs. Dionisio Miranda (20-4-2). (Middleweight) The Main Event.


I’ll the first to acknowledge that I’ve never heard of any of these guys.

Karmazin and Miranda was a pretty good fight and an IBF Title eliminator.  It would have been a decent third or second fight.

The other two fights were throwaways.

One featured an up and coming heavyweight (Fedosov), who still has a ways to go before he’s a top ten contender. He was fighting a guy who was 42-years-old, hadn’t fought in six years, and was recently released from prison.

The other fight pitted two guys with a combined 13 fights between them.

At last count, there were 17 weight classes, and a lot of the lower weight classes are ignored by the likes of HBO and Showtime.

How hard is to get some top ten fighters on ESPN?

Over the years, I’ve watched some outstanding fights on Friday Night Fights. The problem is they are few and far between.

The fact is there aren’t that many boxing matches on television. We should be treated to excellent fights when they are televised.

HBO and Showtime will generally feature only championship bouts between top-ranked guys.

That leaves, literally, hundreds of very good fighters who could use the exposure of ESPN.

And how about a little better venue than Glendale, California?

How about broadcasting some fights from Providence, Worcester, Boston, or even Brooklyn? I hate to be biased, as I’m a west coast guy, but those east coast crowds are rowdy and make for great television.

And, they’re traditional fight towns.

Or, if they were really smart, they’d start doing some spots down in Mexico. Those fans are rabid about boxing.

I really like Teddy Atlas (even if I don’t agree with him all the time), he does a great job and is very knowledgeable. They just need to give him some better fights to cover.

As it is currently with Friday Night Fights, too often we’re treated to guys that should be fighting at my local Elks fundraiser in a venue that is as dead as a junior high prom.

The production value is generally pretty bad and very stale.

There’s absolutely no reason ESPN can’t be featuring fighters ranked six through ten in every single fight. Or, at the very minimum, do a better job of scouting the fighters to assess their styles and pick boxers who will put on a good show. Heck, I can name four to five guys at my local gym who will get in and mix it up.

Let’s face it, MMA is gathering steam and anytime boxing is televised, it’s important to engross and engage the viewer.

Start doing some more background stories to establish an emotional connection.

Make the fights worth tuning in. Get the production quality a lot higher.