NBC’s Premier Boxing Championship Volume 1: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Boxing, on TV, for FREE?!  That’s what I said when I heard NBC was brining back prime-time boxing.  Based on the scheduled future bouts, it seems that this will be an on-going thing for at least a few more months and will likely continue or sink depending on that very important thing in ‘free TV’: ratings.  I think it’s a long time coming, and this will certainty fuel some interest, or at least peek the curiosity, from those want-away boxing fans that can’t afford/refuse to pay those ridiculous pay-per-view fees.  So how did the bouts go?  I won’t analyze the actual fights, but instead will look at what was good, bad and ugly from the program (just picture Clint Eastwood narrating this article).

The Good:

Did I mention the fights were free?  Now, there were only 2 fights that were televised.  I’m assuming there must have been some sort of undercard since the fights were at the MGM in Las Vegas, or maybe the crowd was treated to discount tickets since there were only 2 fights and neither were championship fights. Now, the Keith Thurman v Robert Guerrero fight was an entertaining bout (Thurman victory by unanimous decision).  Neither of them held their punches, and both took a literal beating, just check out their faces after the fight.  It was a stark contrast to the first fight of the night (Adrien Broner v John Molina Jr., Broner win by unanimous decision). Thurman did run around a bit near the end, a tactic which ensured that he saved energy while simultaneously avoided Guerrero’s power-punches.  Overall, most boxing fans will be pleased with what they saw from these two men.  Another positive is the next scheduled event: Andy Lee vs Peter Quillin and Danny Garcia vs Lamont Peterson on April 11.  This sounds like another 2 solid fights for prime-time boxing.

The Bad:

The opening fight left a lot to be desired.  Broner was defensive, and Molina Jr. played it safe for too many rounds before realizing he needed to rock Broner or else would lose the match.  His frustration was seen near the end, but to Broner’s credit, Broner did what he had to do to win the fight.  ‘The Problem’ Broner recognized that his tactics weren’t the most entertaining for the crowd and apologized to them, but he passive-aggressively said that he didn’t fight for the crowd because the last time he fought for the crowd, he lost.  He sure did!

The Ugly:

Adrien Broner.  I get it, you’re playing Mayweather’s “Haters gonna hate cause I’m THAT good” angle.   But just like I don’t fit in a size 7 Starter cap, you look stupid doing it.  Here is one post-fight interview quote that makes you roll your eyes, “While we were fighting, I was talking to him (Molina), every shot he missed I was telling him, ‘Oh really? try that again’…”.  Then, he made another quote, which made me cringe a little given Broner’s history of unfortunate comments, “Like I said before, anybody can get it, afri-cans, mexi-cans…”. Kudos to NBC for cutting him off right then.  Coincidentally, it was against another Molina that Broner uttered the infamous quote “I just beat the fuck out of a Mexi-can”.  As an aside, I don’t take this as a racist statement, but I can see why many people were offended by it.  I just think Broner is an equal opportunity idiot. Another ‘ugly’ was that bump/welt on Thurman’s head.  Rodriguez caused it, but it’s unclear if it was the product of a punch or head-butt.

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I will say that, while searching for this image, I found vastly uglier welts out there.  I’d give Thurman’s welt a 5 out of 10, but it’s still ugly. 

Overall, I would have to say it was a successful return of prime-time boxing. I’ll be looking forward to the next event. I can get used to this, but I guess I’ll also have to get used to seeing commercials between rounds.  I hope NBC finds the right balance to do this since there isn’t a lot of time to show replays unless it’s between rounds.  I encourage you all to check out the next event on April 11th.  Excelsior!

Adrien Broner: Scapegoat Racist

By Rudy Mondragon 

Racism: Beliefs, actions, practices, and social/political systems that create a hierarchy of races deemed more superior or inferior to each other. Racism gives advantages to groups with power and privilege (white) and is manifested towards people of color who are in subordinated positions.

Adrien Broner was recently used as a scapegoat of racism in a time where racial insensitivity is a hot topic. This is due to the recent incident with Clippers owner, Donald Sterling and his hate towards black people, not wanting black people at his basketball games, and his history of racism. Although what Broner said this past Saturday night after his victory over Carlos Molina was racially and culturally insensitive, disrespectful, arrogant, lacked humility, and ignorant, I would not say that it was racist. A racist position would be someone who said something of someone from a different race with language and a tone of hate and power over another racial group. As a black man, Adrien Broner is not in a position of power, but more so in a position to disrespect an entire community as a result of his dominant performance over Carlos Molina (who is Mexican and Argentinian).

The question here is: Where were the suspensions or fines for racially insensitive shit before the Sterling fiasco? Had the Sterling incident not gone down, would the WBC acted the way they did towards Broner? The actions taken towards Broner come at a time where racialized (the process of making something about race) discourse is a sensitive issue and actions are more reactive than proactive. The actions taken by the WBC towards Broner is more of a move to protect the Mexican fight fan market than addressing racism in the boxing world. With that said, the WBC’s attempt was poorly executed because it was in the name of business rather than intentionally addressing systemic racism and hate. They were actions taken for the sake of taking action.

It is easy for white people to label people of color as racist in order to mask their own white privilege, power, and racial bias. Doing this frees them from discussing their own issues with racism and power and makes racism a universal practice that everyone engages in equally. Example, in 2012 Floyd Mayweather made a comment about the attention that Jeremy Lin was receiving was due to his Asian identity.

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There is a truth to what Floyd was saying that was misunderstood. Jeremy Lin was seen as an exotic player because he did not fit the norm of what a basketball player in the NBA looks like. As a result, the NBA and fans made a huge deal about a player (Lin) that was no different than other stand out rookies. Lin had MVP numbers in his first 10 games as a starter for the Knicks (24.6 points, 9.2 assists, and shot 49.7 percent from the floor), but in the next seven games his production dropped (CBS Sports). Yet the words that Floyd Mayweather put out were misconstrued, taken out of context, and simplified to Floyd being a racist bigot. It’s not that simple. If something is not within the norm, it is seen as exotic and when exoticized (process of making something or someone exotic), there is an opportunity to make money off of it, which is what was done with Jeremy Lin (See Lin Jersey Sales).

In conclusion, this piece is not an attempt to excuse Adrien Broner of his mistake. Let’s be VERY CLEAR ABOUT THAT. However, I do not think a suspension is fitting for his actions. I would say a monetary fine is more appropriate as his racially and culturally insensitive words would warrant consequences in any work place. Again, the question is, where were the suspensions or fines in the boxing world for racially and culturally insensitive shit before the Sterling fiasco? Remember Freddie Roach’s words towards Donald Leary and calling him a “Fucking Mexican” or Jim Lampley saying James Kirkland needs to “go ghetto on him” or his insensitive comments towards Islam?

The list goes on. The conversation of racism in boxing needs to be addressed and folks need to be held accountable in a more equitable fashion. This reactive response from the WBC and from the boxing world labeling Adrien Broner a racist is a scapegoat move that needs to be further discussed. I suggest that racism in boxing be seriously dealt with by looking at the history of racism in boxing, understanding it, and taking well informed action in addressing it and calling out those who have power and privilege that go untouched when being racially insensitive and bias.

Taking notes from the NBA, the World Boxing Council Suspends Broner

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By Mateo Banegas

Following racial remarks made by Adrien Broner during his post-fight interview this past weekend, the WBC has hereby suspended Broner from participating in any WBC-sanctioned championship and will exclude him from the WBC ratings, until he makes a public apology that is satisfactory to the global public.

As announced on the WBC website (wbcboxing.com) today, May 7th, “The World Boxing Council holds human equality as its banner and will not accept a former WBC champion to make racially offensive statements.”

In the open letter, the WBC has asked Broner to clarify the basis of his words, “since words have different meanings and can be interpreted in different ways”, or issue a public apology if those words were purposefully offensive.

This comes at a time when racism and irresponsible language in sports is no longer being tolerated, as witnessed by the strong stance taken by the NBA in response to Donald Sterling’s now well-known racially charged rant.

These steps by the WBC may, then, represent efforts to demonstrate equally swift and firm action against one of it’s athletes. Particularly in a sport as racially and ethnically diverse as boxing.

Boxing fans should take note of this move and see how future use of culturally-insensitive and inappropriate language in boxing, whether used in an attempt for cute sound-bytes or simply out of ignorance, is handled.