Has the pay-per-view model done the most damage to interest in boxing?

Manny Pacquiao (l) takes on Brandon Rios (r) on November 23, 2013 on HBO Pay-per-view.

Manny Pacquiao (l) takes on Brandon Rios (r) on November 23, 2013 on HBO Pay-per-view.

By Charles Glover Jr.

While boxing continues to see record breaking pay-per-view numbers for main attraction Floyd Mayweather, the sport is still struggling to regain the interest it had decades ago. Only a handful of boxing superstars can attract large pay-per-view numbers, but pay-per-view fights receive the most attention in the sports media market.

Olympic gold medalist and top pound-for-pound boxer Andre Ward is making a return to the ring after a year off to recover from injury.

Olympic gold medalist and top pound-for-pound boxer Andre Ward is making a return to the ring after a year off to recover from injury.

The problem with boxing’s current marketing strategy is the lack of promotion for rising stars. The established superstars in boxing like Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and the aforementioned Mayweather, earned their reputation from fighting a long list of reputable fighters. In boxing, like politics, name recognition sells more than anything else. The former pay-per-view model helped grow the reputation of unknown fighters as they fought on the undercard before the main event was shown. If they excelled in those moments, the extra exposure would help them make a name for themselves.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather earned his nickname by being the best pound-for-pound boxer and the biggest pay-per-view.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather earned his nickname by being the best pound-for-pound boxer and the biggest pay-per-view.

The problem now is boxers that lack do name recognition do not get the opportunity to fight on the undercard of the pay-per-view card as often as in the past. For example, HBO Pay-Per-View will be the host station for the Manny Pacquiao versus Brandon Rios fight on November 23, 2013. Pacquiao is the second biggest pay-per-view draw in boxing at this time (Mayweather is first) so the numbers will likely be good. However, HBO aired excellent fights this past weekend and will feature another excellent bout this weekend.

Nonito  Donaire (l) defeated Vic Darchinian (r) by ninth round TKO last weekend November 9, 2013.

Nonito Donaire (l) defeated Vic Darchinyan (r) by ninth round TKO last weekend November 9, 2013.

Nonito Donaire, an exciting Filipino fighter with a good fan base knocked out bruiser Vic Darchinyan. Additionally, rising star Mikey Garcia, a Mexican-American fighter with exceptional knockout power, displayed that power to win a vacant title against highly touted Puerto-Rican fighter Rocky Martinez. This weekend, top pound-for-pound and undefeated fighter Andre Ward will come back from a year-long injury layoff to assert his dominance in his sport against the very skilled and also unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez.

Rocky Martinez (l) suffered a knockout loss at the hands of rising star Mikey Garcia (r).

Rocky Martinez (l) suffered a knockout loss at the hands of rising star Mikey Garcia (r).

In the past, HBO PPV would have combined these fights to make an entertaining and exciting card. That would encourage the casual fan to spend the money not just to see the main event, but also the rising stars in boxing. HBO is far from being the only culprit in this problem in marketing, but this month on HBO will feature several boxers that would have benefited from the extra exposure the Pacquiao pey-per-view would provide. Going forward, boxing would benefit from consolidating events and combining fight cards which should generate larger purses for the fights. The extra money in the purses would help market the fight on a broader level, which would generate a greater interest in a broader range of boxers.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.

Morning television becomes diverse with News One Now

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Roland Martin on the set of his new morning show, News One Now on TVOne.

 By Carmen Glover

For years news that was relevant to the African-American experience got short shrift from morning television. A few topics would be covered from time to time but extensive examination of stories which interested the African-American community did not happen routinely. Stories that featured African-American issues did not get the prominence that they deserved and viewers were often left wanting more detail, background and factual information. That changed on November 4 with the debut of TVOne’s News One Now, with Roland Martin.

The first episode began with well-wishes offered by Earvin “Magic” Johnson and a song by Stevie Wonder. Throughout the week, topics were covered with expertise and professionalism. Martin presided over debates with various panelists and tackled topics in great detail from a variety of perspectives within the African-American community.

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Former Secretary of State and Retired General Colin Powell shares his views.

It was refreshing to see, for instance, an all-male panel discussing the Miami Dolphins’ debacle with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith offering his usual biting commentary. The one-hour News One Now program addresses issues that are often overlooked but they are tackled on the program with such care and detail that viewers are given an education while being brought up to date on news topics that deserve to be showcased.

The show also features a question each day and viewers are allowed to call in to share their thoughts about the question posed, making the show interactive and informative. As the program works out its technical kinks and the newsreader becomes more comfortable in the role, the show should gain traction and solidify itself in its prime 9:00 a.m. time slot.

For those who have not had a chance to view the show, tune in any weekday morning at 9:00 a.m. and celebrate the addition of a respected African-American voice to the national conversation about issues that should be covered, but which are often ignored by the mainstream media. —OnPointPress.net

Dolphins locker room could use “A Few Good Men”

Offensive lineman Richie Incognito is at the forefront of investigation into bullying in the Dolphins locker room.

Offensive lineman Richie Incognito is at the forefront of investigation into bullying in the Dolphins’ locker room.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Over the past few days, the Miami Dolphins team and management have been asked to respond to the revelation of disturbing words and behavior levied by Richie Incognito towards fellow Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin. Martin received harassing text and voice messages from Incognito that expressed disparaging remarks referring to Martin as a “half n—- piece of s—” and threats of physical harm to Martin and his family. In the immediate aftermath of the revelations, Incognito has been suspended indefinitely while Martin remains away from the team on his own accord.

Speculation has been rampant about how complicit the Dolphins team was in condoning Incognito’s brash and negative tactics, since no details have emerged to indicate that prior action was taken to discourage his conduct. There is an NFL- led investigation underway into the facts about this case. This might be able to answer who knew about this bullying and what, if anything, was done about it. Until those facts are clear there will continue to be conjecture about the locker room culture creating a dynamic that can allow for bullying of this kind to exist.

Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.

Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.

Immediate reports about this story pointed towards hazing as a cause of Martin’s alleged emotional outburst that resulted in him leaving the team abruptly. Any categorizing of hazing as an unnecessary, childish ploy to gain camaraderie in sports is a disservice to sports culture. Football players and coaches often use war-like jargon such as battlefield, warriors, and bunker-type mentality to express their feelings of deep devotion to their sport. The circumstances surrounding the apparent hectoring of Martin from Incognito is eerily reminiscent of the plot of the classic movie “A Few Good Men,” a fact that was not lost on the hosts of ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie (NNL).

A Few Good Men was released in 1992 amid rave reviews.

The movie, “A Few Good Men” was released in 1992 amid rave reviews.

In the movie, two U.S. Marines face court-martial procedures for causing the death of a fellow Marine. The circumstances surrounding the death expose that the fallen Marine was viewed as sub-standard and weak by his fellow Marine Corps and superior officers. This led to the fallen Marine being “disciplined” (or given a CODE RED as termed in the movie) by members of his own Corps leading to the unintended consequence of his death. The movie delves into the culture of military life, from within and outside of the base where the incident happens, while also examining the moral dilemma some individuals face when doing such meaningful work.

This dynamic seems to be applicable in the Incognito and Martin case for a few reasons. First, there seems to be little or no outlet within the team for Martin to think he could get help if he expressed that he was being tormented. Second, there has not been any veteran player, coaching staff or team personnel of the Miami Dolphins willing to acknowledge these actions were taking place before audio and text messages proved otherwise. Third, there has been very little outrage from the team, even as most of the people responding to the reports continue to ask for explanations from those who were closest to the situation.

Richie Incognito (l) and Jonathan Martin (r) at Dolphins practice.

Richie Incognito (l) and Jonathan Martin (r) at Dolphins practice.

Near the end of the ” A Few Good Men”, the penultimate question was about whether the CODE RED was ordered to be given to the fallen Marine. In the case involving the Dolphins, the question may be whether the team felt “CODE RED”-like tactics were acceptable for Incognito to administer to Martin in order for him to be the player the Dolphins wanted Martin to be.

As the facts of the Dolphins case continue to emerge it will be interesting to see what action, if any, will be taken to reduce bullying in the NFL. The league already faces an uphill battle in repairing an image tarnished by concussions, suicides and routine player contact with the law. Convincing fans and sponsors that the sport is wholesome and embraces brotherhood, as male-oriented team sports should, will be more of a challenge. Unless bullies are shown the door as unceremoniously as their actions deserve and the league sends a strong message that bullies are unwelcome in the sport, then this incident will be a blip on the landscape of business as usual in the NFL.-OnPointPress.net

Terrell Owens speaks humbly, bravely inspires others

 

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Former NFL star Terrell Owens baring his soul on “Iyanla Fix My Life.”

By Carmen Glover

Former NFL star Terrell Owens, whose career spanned stints with teams such as the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals, has been a man without a team since the 2010 season. He’s broke and has experienced ongoing legal wrangling with the four women with whom he fathered four children. His life is a canvas of tattered relationships, littered with the debris of arrogance, poor choices and an unwillingness to embrace good advice. On Saturday night, November 2, that changed.

In what can only be described as compelling television, Owens removed the covering of his life, humbled himself and asked for help. And he asked the right person: Iyanla Vanzant. In the season premiere of her noteworthy show “Iyanla Fix My Life,” Vanzant met with Owens and talked to him in a loving, compassionate, but firm tone while encouraging him to face his fears and examine his life honestly “with no excuses.” What transpired was an episode that caused social media sites to light up as viewers sent out tweets in minute-by -minute commentaries.

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Terrell Owens (center) is flanked by his father and Iyanla as his father finally professes his love for his son, and asks for his forgiveness.

Owens exposed the raw pain and anguish he has been hiding all these years, which drove his insatiable passion to showboat excessively and disrupt team chemistry to the point that he was labeled “a cancer in the locker room.” At the heart of his hurt is the sense of rejection he has tried to ignore, borne out of the reality that at the age of 12, when he expressed interest in a girl who lived across the street from the home he shared with his maternal grandmother, he was told that he could not like the girl because she was his sister. Owens father, a married man with a family, impregnated Owens’ mother when the father was 30 and the mother a mere 16 year-old girl. To add insult to injury, neither parent discussed the matter with Owens, who grew up seeing his father share special moments with the children from the marriage, while ignoring the vulnerable Owens, his only son: the child who needs a father to shape him into manhood.

Parents often say that they do the best they can at the time. And Owens’ parents were no different in the episode of “Iyanla Fix My Life.” But the sadness that emanated from Owens when his father finally embraced him, told him he loved him (which he has never done before in Owens’ 39 years on this earth) and asked for his forgiveness, was difficult. Owens came across as a broken, rejected and dejected 12-year-old child who just wants to feel loved, protected and accepted. Parents often realize too late that it is their job to love, protect and build the confidence and character of their children. Owens’ life is evidence that despite exceptional talent, career opportunities and celebrity status, nothing is as instrumental to a child’s fundamental development as the comfort that child gets from knowing innately that he/she is being raised in an environment of love, encouragement, acceptance and support. –OnPointPress. net