Before we get started, I would like to state that I am not saying that Steve Molitor is one of the best fighters in the world—I am just asking if the career path and business decisions he has made could help bring boxing back, and if he is the future of the sport. So before we begin, let's break down the career so far of Steve Molitor.
Steve "The Canadian Kid" Molitor is a 28-year-old boxer who is 28-0 as a professional and is the IBF Super Bantamweight Champion, a title which he has defended five times each at the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, and on basic cable on Canada's sports network, TSN.
Rumble in Rama, as it is called, is usually the sporting highlight of the weekend in Canada even during the NFL season and during the NHL playoffs.
This has ensured that all of his fights are big draws in Canada and has greatly increased his popularity there, where boxing was basically dead up until Molitor won the championship.
Now here is the question:
Is Molitor's business model the future of boxing, and, if it is, will it help or hurt boxing?
I think in the next few years we are going to see more boxers make these kind of deals at the start of their careers to cement their popularity—think of Celine Dion singing at Caesar's Palace in Vegas, it instantly brands the performer and the building.
When people talk about the casino, they will talk about seeing Joe Schmo who defended his Junior Flyweight title on Friday while I blew my mortgage on blackjack.
This helps both the fighter and the hotel, as it creates buzz to both the building and the boxer, and usually will create a guranteed large audience that most arenas and stadiums cannot create. Also it can create more business as well for the casino as fight fans will travel to the hotel for the fight and spend money.
We won't really see these kind of deals in major hotels like in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but in Indian Gaming casinos across North America as they need to separate themselves from the rest and a deal with a champion boxer could help.
Now here comes the debate:
Will boxers sign deals with basic cable or even free television channels in order to expand their popularity at the start of their careers, or will the lure of PPV money be too much for them?
I personally believe there will not be too many Steve Molitors out there, as I am sure he is a rare breed and he actually has made boxing relevant again in Canada, which is hard to do as we have so many successful MMA fighters.
I personally believe that we may see a few more Steve Molitors appear in the next few years, and I think this is what will help the sport of boxing the most—boxers holding titles fighting for their fans on basic cable on major sports networks.
It is a shame there aren't more Steve Molitors in this world, as we would be hearing more about boxing and less about street thugs like Kimbo Slice.