The best news for fight fans is that the UFC on Fox ended in plenty of time to see Mike Alvarado (pictured) overcome having his lip ripped in half to stop Breidis Prescott in the final round of a great fight. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez will go down in the history books as a success. The two men put on a bout filled with drama and a level of evenness that befit their legendary trilogy perfectly. The scorecards led to controversy as many (most?) scored the bout for Marquez, but in the fight sport business a little controversy makes for good water cooler talk and the kind of buzz an "event sport" needs.
Of course, there was another little combat sports event going on the same evening with the UFC making their Fox debut with a heavyweight title fight. Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum gave his thoughts on the UFC and Fox's decision to air the same night. Via the New York Post:
"They thought they would hurt us," Arum said of the UFC. "Instead they got hurt because they got buried. But I think the fact they're just on for an hour helps us."
I actually seriously doubt that this was any attempt to "hurt" the boxing event. If anything, the fact that the UFC followed up their show by putting the Pacquiao and Marquez fight on every TV at their post-fight event is an indication that it had little to do with any sort of animus toward boxing. Not to mention Dana White never once mentioning that anyone should skip the Pacquiao/Marquez show and instead pushing the idea that they'd be off the air in plenty of time to catch the majority of the boxing card.
Similarly I don't think that the UFC got buried. I think that the buzz in the days following is tilted in boxing's favor in terms of mass media and interest (trust me, the traffic between the events is not even close). But that's more a product of the Fox event lacking enough time to build properly. You had a lot of talking, a minute of action and more talking. It was a great moment for Junior dos Santos and a great moment for the UFC, but it was what it was in terms of overall starpower and action. That still doesn't constitute the UFC having been "buried."
We have enough years of data at this point to fully embrace the idea that the growth of MMA has had little effect on boxing and boxing's big events don't have any impact on the UFC's bottom line.
Boxing is actually in a healthier place than it has been in years and it seems like 2011 has seen an inordinate amount of great fights in the sport. The Main Events deal with NBC to return boxing to network TV as well as hold events on Versus was a big step as has been much better matchmaking. Every PPV of the past year for boxing has included some great fights and the upcoming Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito card is the best combat sports card of the year as far as I'm concerned with tremendous action fights up and down.
In the end, Arum is just doing what Arum does. He's talking up his product like any promoter. He can't help himself but take his little shots at the UFC because he's a creature of ego butting heads with one of his own in Dana White.