As the world awaits the biggest fight the sport have ever seen set on May 2nd between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, the rest of the sport still needs to go on and this weekend it did. From Canada Sergey Kovalev proved why he is the best light heavyweight on the planet, no matter what “Superman” Stevenson and Al Haymon say, as he crushed Jean Pascal in eight while Haymon himself presented his first night of the Premier Boxing Champion on Spike TV on Friday night. Other major fights happened through out the world in the last three days.
Boxing has always been considered an international sport but in the last decade it has proven that it also moves across gender lines. Just not in the United States. Although the land of milk and honey is the promised land for boxers all over the world, our neighbors to the south have proven to be just that but a growing sector of the sport, women.
Although the Kovalev dismantling of Pascal was broadcast live on the most influential network in the sport, HBO, it just might not have been the most watched fight broadcast this past Saturday night. That honor might just have gone to a female fight. Transmitted by Mexican mega channel Televisa, veteran super flyweight former champion Mariana “Barbie” Juarez was shocked via a split decision by visiting Japanese Naoko Fujioka from Naucalpan, Mexico, near Mexico City.
Why was this the most watched fight this past weekend?
It is no secret that Mexican and Mexican-Americans are the win in the sails of the ship named boxing. As the Premier Boxing Champions series is all the craze now on terrestrial television, Mexico has been boxing-crazy since television was born and broadcasts live boxing every Saturday night on the two biggest terrestrial networks in the country. Juarez’s fight was telecast by Televisa, the biggest network in the country, with one out of five television sets tuned in every Saturday night for their weekly boxing fix. Mexico counts with a population of over 118 million. If that wasn’t enough, on the competing channel Azteca, the semi-main event of the night was Yazmin Rivas defending her 118lb world title against Celina Salazar of San Antonio, Texas.
This in Mexico where the country’s middle name is machismo.
The story doesn’t end there, Japan has a number of champions, Germany has Susi Kentikian and Alesia Graf, Canada’s Jelena Mrdjenovich, Argentina’s Jessica “Tutti” Bopp and Peru’s Kina Malpartida are just a few that can pack in the fans in their home turfs.
Notice no American names.
With Laila Ali, Christy Martin and Mia St. John among others, the United States were at one point one of the biggest suppliers of female fights in the sport but with the network’s interest diminished, so do the promoters’, and now in the United States women struggle to get on any card let alone a major one on TV even though the country has some of the best fighters in the world.
What a shame.