Monday, March 09, 2015

No Holds Barred: Charles Farrell on PBC on NBC Boxing, Mayweather-Pacquiao, and the State of Boxing

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with our colleague, correspondent, and award-winning boxing writer, Charles Farrell, who is also co-editor of The Boxing Standard.

The return of boxing to network TV in the U.S. and the announcement that the long-awaited mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will take place May 2 have sparked much interest and discussion about the state of boxing.

Saturday's debut PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) on NBC show featured an exciting decision victory by Keith Thurman over Robert Guerrero and a not-so-exciting decision victory by Adrien Broner over John Molina Jr.

According to the Nielsen Ratings, the PBC on NBC telecast averaged 3.4 million viewers, ranking as the most-watched professional boxing broadcast in 17 years (Oscar De La Hoya’s Fight Night on FOX, 5.9 million, Mon., March 23, 1998). Viewership increased every half hour through the telecast and peaked at 4.2 million from 10:30-11 p.m. ET during the final six rounds of the Keith Thurman-Robert Guerrero fight. The PBC on NBC also led NBC to a Saturday primetime victory among adults 18-49, with a 1.08 rating in that demographic. Also, according to NBC Sports, more than 575,000 minutes (576,435) of PBC on NBC coverage was live streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra to desktops, tablets and mobile devices. The show thus has to be considered a ratings success.

We spoke with Charles Farrell by phone Sunday.

"I do think the idea of making competitive fights is a very good idea. I think star-building is a very good idea," he said.

"There's probably interest in trying to resurrect Adrien Broner. I dont think that that happened, and I think maybe they have to think about what to do with Adrien Broner at this point."

He continued, "But they probably did pretty well by Keith Thurman. And my guess is that people who were watching who were casual fans will be inclined to watch the next one. So you give it a passing grade, and I would say at this point we sort of have to wait and see."

As for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, where Mayweather puts his 47-0 record on the line, we discussed potential outcomes, including one possibility that the fight will end in a highly controversial and disputed decision, thus leading to much antipathy for boxing but also a highly lucrative rematch.

We also discussed the announcing and overall production of the debut PBC on NBC show, the need to present boxing "as boxing" on TV, the decision loss by Chinese fighter Zou Shiming to IBF flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand in Macao in China, why boxing seems to rebound after each period of decline, and much, much more.

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