Photo via HBO
Here's how Bad Left Hook opens their always excellent live coverage of tonight's boxing PPV:
For the many who won't be plunking down their hard-earned coin on tonight's marginal and rightly-criticized HBO pay-per-view card headlined by Shane Mosley taking on Sergio Mora, fear not! You can still get real-time updates, round-by-round scoring and analysis here at Bad Left Hook.
The Boxing Bulletin took a meat cleaver to HBO's promotional strategy for the main card fight:
Before you decide Mosley-Mora isn't worth the cheese, consider how HBO promoted it.
Mosley has 46 wins, 39 by knockout. He has six losses (twice to both Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright, once to Miguel Cotto and Mayweather). What do those four have in common? They aren't of Mexican descent.
Enter Mora, who is - voila - a Mexican-American.
So HBO does what any reasonably thinking company would do: In the commercials between the bouts of its last PPV, it asked viewers if Mora will be the first Mexican to defeat Mosley. That's supposed to be the appeal here? Can Mora be the first fighter of Mexican descent to beat Shane Mosley?
And the undercard? It's pretty weak too, here's The Boxing Bulletin again:
It's far from a great trio of supporting bouts, but it's not that bad - at least relative to the kind of undercards we've come to expect from pay-per-view shows lately. It's just not good enough to make up for a main-event that doesn't quite have the sizzle to merit the $44.95 price tag.
Antonio Escalante vs Daniel Ponce de Leon? Hard to see that one not turning out well. Escalante always means business and Ponce can really crack. No complaints there.
Saul Alvarez vs Carlos Baldomir? Alvarez is a 10-1 favorite for good reason and the youngster shouldn't have too many problem with the aging Baldomir's slow moving come forward style. This bout could provide us with some good exchanges, but it's an FNF quality fight at best and shouldn't be one of the key attractions to an expensive show.
Victor Ortiz vs Vivian Harris? This one really does not look good. When was the last time Harris looked like a viable contender at 140lbs? Should he even be fighting anymore? Want to bet on Ortiz...you'll need to lay 20 to win 1. That's really all the info you need to confirm that Harris is considered a very safe step towards rebuilding Victor's confidence.
But even if the main event is lackluster at best and marketed in an offensive manner and the undercard is only so-so, Fight Opinion notes that Golden Boy and HBO have varied their tactics a bit to push this card:
If you have had an opportunity to watch Fox Sports Net/Comcast Sportsnet in your area, you may have seen a paid infomercial running to promote the Sergio Mora/Shane Mosley PPV fight. It's done in a similar style to the April/May UFC Countdown shows that Zuffa (reportedly/allegedly) paid to have run on CSN and Versus.
The 30-minute infomercial is produced by HBO & Golden Boy Promotions. Interestingly, a few newspaper writers were shown praising the PPV during the show. There was focus on Mora/Mosley but there was a clear focus on trying to push Victor Ortiz/Vivian Harris and the undercard for the fight, pushing the theme of ‘the young bucks' coming up to eventually replace the bigger names in boxing.
I don't know if enough people saw the infomercial to make a difference in PPV buys, but it was certainly interesting to see Golden Boy and HBO up their promotional game to try to sell tonight's fight.
On the whole I think this fight card sums up much of what is wrong with boxing today -- aging headliners, weak undercards filled with squash matches, and questionable promotional strategies.
Many MMA fans seem to revel in the decline of boxing, but I don't think we should. So far the MMA audience that the UFC boom has been built on is mostly younger white males in their 20s who never watched boxing in the first place. Many of them were pro wrestling fans, but for many MMA is their first combat sport to follow.
The boxing demographic of middle-aged and older white males and younger Hispanics and African-Americans remain huge targets for MMA expansion and maybe I'm wrong, but I think the more healthy the boxing scene is, the easier it will be to pick up fans from there.
Boxing is also a warning parable for Dana White and company full of mistakes to avoid. So far that's been easy since Vince McMahon's WWE is 100% their business template, but as time goes on I fear we'll see the UFC fall into some of the same pitfalls as boxing has.
For example, weak PPV cards: next weekend's UFC 119 and UFC 120 later this month are both the kind of weak cards that a few years ago MMA fans could gloat only boxing promoters would try to fob off on their fans to make a quick buck.
It's no coincidence that HBO and Zuffa aren't going head to head with their weak cards this year like they did last year when UFC 103 went up against a Mayweather fight. Even if there is limited overlap between their audiences, why fight over scraps?
[UPDATE by Anton Tabuena] - The fight, which most people found very boring, ended in a draw. Scott Christ has it:
A draw. A draw, in a terrible fight. A terrible fight that had the Los Angeles crowd booing through most of the first eight rounds of alleged action. Mora (22-1-2, 6 KO) came in to stink out the joint and try to win an ugly decision, and he accomplished the first part. And 39-year-old Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KO) was so gassed out by the ninth round that everything he threw was without steam.
...Yes, I scored it 117-111 for Mosley, same as HBO's Harold Lederman. At the end of the day, I don't really care about who won this fight, or if nobody win, because the fact of the matter is this: neither one of these guys looked good tonight.