Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, May 14, 2007

CSI Las Vegas

Crime Scene: Las Vegas, Nevada.
EMT: We have a pulse. Boxing’s still alive! Prepare the defibrillator.

EMTs scurry about.
Detective 1: It seems the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Oscar De La Hoya bout broke existing pay-per-view records. So does that mean that boxing’s death is greatly exaggerated?

Detective 2: Hmm. For all we know the regurgitating noise that followed might be the sport’s death rattle. Like the body still hasn’t gotten the brain’s message.

Detective 1: You can’t say that. We deal in facts here not conjecture! We’ll have to examine the crime scene for evidence. Bring in the forensic guys.

(CSI personnel enter the room)
Forensic Detective: If we look at the boos that followed the announcement of the split decision and the feeling by many that Oscar De La Hoya was robbed, we can infer that it was another unsatisfying end to a much-hyped match. But that is by no means conclusive. We need something more substantive.

Detective 2: The sport has been sucker punched once too often it’s a wonder it survived this long.

Detective 1: Any possible suspects?

Forensic Detective: From the trauma evident -- it took a fist to the face and a knee to the abdomen. And a kick to the leg. And there’s the matter of the bloody ear…

Detective 2: Wasn’t that the second bout of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield – the infamous Bite Fight?

Forensic Detective: (coughs) Actually, I was going to say, it could have been Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC (Universal Fighting Championship) that perpetuated this attack.

EMT: Heart rate is spiking.

Forensic Detective: Spike is right. Put aside the Mayweather-De La Hoya temporarily, the most watched UFC fight so far in 2007 on Spike TV outdrew the most watched boxing match on television by 73%. That was UFC 70 that featured Mirko “Cro” Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga on April 21 that drew 2.8 million viewers as opposed to the Ricky Hatton-Juan Urango bout on January 20 that was seen by 1.5 million people.

And in 2006, the Tito Ortiz-Ken Shamrock UFC fight outdrew boxing’s most viewed event --- that was Winky Wright vs. Jermain Taylor. Ah that’s 4.3 million viewers for UFC and 3.5 for HBO boxing – a difference of 800,000 viewers.

Detective 1: But isn’t boxing alive and well in the Philippines and in Europe?

Forensic Detective: Well, yes it’s popular in the Philippines but in the boxing universe it’s still a drop in the bucket. Vladimir Klitschko, will try to avenge his loss to Lamon Brewester this July in Germany. His last fight there drew some 13 million people.

Detective 2: Then how can you say that boxing’s dead?

Forensic Detective: Remember the time when the Heavyweight Champion used to be like Leonardo DiCaprio, he was the King of the World?

Detective 1: Yeah, those were the days. Ali, Frazier, Foreman…

Detective 2: And there were larger than life boxers like Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello…

Detective 1: Now whom do they have? Before Mayweather-De La Hoya, the last match that people really looked forward to was Lennox Lewis and an over-the-hill Mike Tyson. (chuckles)

Forensic Detective: Well, I don’t think we can just point to MMA as the culprit. Maybe it’s also boxing that set itself up.

Detective 2: You mean they wanted it too look this way? The real perp is from within?

Detective 1: Who is it… Don King? Bong Obero? The Russians? The other promoters? Controversial decisions? Is boxing on its way to being knocked out?

Forensic Detective: Maybe. Maybe not. It may be not be as popular as it once was, but let’s wait until we have more conclusive evidence. We’ll see what happens when UFC signs with ESPN. Yeah, the world awaits.

o O o

Mixed Martial Arts have become more and more popular. The UFC Fight Nights air live on Spike TV and feature many of the biggest names in the world of mixed martial arts. UFC Fight Nights have averaged 2.2 million viewers in the US -- more than the average regular season telecasts of the NBA, NHL, and NCAA basketball on cable television.

UFC 71 will be showing on Solar Sports this coming June. The main cards feature Chuck Lidell v. Quinton Jackson for the Light Heavyweight Championship, Terry Martin vs. Ivan Salaverry in a Middleweight bout, Karo Parisyan vs. Josh Burkman in a Welterweight match, a Light Heavyweight bout that pits Keith Jardine vs. Houston Alexander, and a Middleweight battle between Chris Leben vs. Kalib Starnes.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has only been with the UFC for less than four months and he’s already getting his shot at Lidell’s title. Lidell recently dominated Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture and is nigh unbeatable. Liddell, from San Luis Obispo, is coming off a decisive third-round technical knockout of Ortiz at UFC 66 in December 2006, but he acknowledged afterward that he fought with a torn medial collateral ligament in a knee. He declined to reveal which knee was injured, but he said he rejected proposed surgery.

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