(JAN 15) Hi- been a while since I've
been on WBAN but haven't stopped reading it daily even since AROTO appeared on the site. I always said that
the women fighters had more spirit then the men and carried that
amateur athlete mentality into the pros. Fighting because they want
to rather then because they have to. Fighting often for short money
but enjoying it regardless and still giving 110%. The "open
letters", while passionate , dripped with frustration. Lots of
hoping and wishing for things to get better for women's boxing. Lots
of analogies to women's tennis, basketball and golf. Lot's of
bitching about the lack of parity with the men. And my favorite
expression of yore, "we don't wanna be a side show". I used this one
often in my own sales pitches. But as a former boss of mine used to
say, "Where's the plan?" Wishin' and a hopin' won't make things
better. Complaining won't make things better. Jealousy of the
"haves" won't make things better. You have to have a plan.
There was a buzz around A Ring Of Their Own when we started right
through to our last full promotion in November of 2006. Flawed or
not, we certainly had a plan. And while not frivolous, we had money.
And for most of the time we had the support of the women's boxing
community. I feel now, as I did then, that the strategies we had
were sound and necessary for the success of women's boxing. But I'm
not writing this to explain why we aren't doing shows anymore. I
would however like to share what we felt were the necessities to
success of women's boxing in hope that someone somewhere will pick
up the ball and employ them. They are fairly simple and we certainly
weren't re-inventing the wheel. We may have just been a little
early, a little under capitalized, or so burned out after two and
half years that we couldn't exploit the ground we gained or even we
realize we gained it.
Regardless, for women's boxing to thrive:
1. Women must have all women's cards. That's the only way to not be
a side show on men's cards and the only way for new talent to have a
place to break in therefore increasing the ranks of women fighters.
As I've been quoted before, "the WNBA doesn't play during half time
of the NBA, the LPGA doesn't play between holes of the PGA, and
women's tennis doesn't need men's tennis, period. Why should female
fighters? Take control of your own destiny.
2.All women's cards must be televised. To not televise is to fight
in a closet. I'm talking national distribution. For two years AROTO
was televised weekly. Yes we lost a half a million dollars doing it
but I'd do it again. It's a waste if you don't and the sport and the
fighters can not grow without it. With all due respect, reading
about in on WBAN is not exposure. It's just preaching to the choir.
And Pay Per View, well with all the "hoopla" about Sanders-Holm, did
anyone notice that the rematch was neither on PPV nor basic cable.
To reach only 5,000 or so viewers by PPV you are once again reaching
only the existing fans, not grabbing any new ones. TV must be weekly
at a minimum, not two or three times a year on Fox Sports. That
won't grow anything. If nothing else while AROTO was televised we
developed talent that would go on to better pay days against Laila
Ali and more lucrative pay days in Europe and Japan as well.
As a side note, we did try web casting and sorry to say we were way
ahead of our time and lost considerable money. It still is not a
viable alternative to TV.
3.Forget about the belts. Women's boxing has taken all the bad from
men's boxing in this department and compounded the felony. It's
alphabet soup times three. Women fighters have to stop worrying
about these trinkets otherwise the sport will remain a carnival
attraction and the belts are no more then kewpie dolls won at a
shooting gallery. The promoters are at fault here too playing into
the "world title fight" mentality. At least the men have an excuse
that wealthy networks pay them to have fights called "world titles".
Women don't even have that excuse. It's strictly about bragging
rights, mostly to people who don't know the difference. Grow up. If
you want the sport to succeed then make good matches. The real
titles will surface along with the best fighters. And when that
happens the budgets will be there to follow proper guidelines for
impartial judging and refereeing for the governing bodies.
4.Promoters who are lucky enough to have a local women's boxing
attraction must use this as a vehicle to develop other talent and do
all women's cards. This formula had worked in Edmonton and
Albuquerque in particular. But the undercards don't have to all be
title fights. It would be more beneficial for the sport in the long
run to have more fights and allow some of the new talent to be on
the shows. Never the less it seems that this formula has been
abandoned. Correct me if I'm wrong but when Sanders and Holm fought
the rematch in Detroit, were they the only women's fight on the
card? Laila Ali, while responsible in part for the popularity that
women's boxing achieved at the turn of the century, hasn't given
anything back to the sport that made her and rarely had any other
women's bouts on her undercards. Both she and Christy Martin could
have built franchises around their names when they were hot but they
didn't. Billie Jean King DID when she formed Virginia Slims Tennis
and broke away from the men's tournaments. She put her ability where
her mouth was and took a shot for the women's side of the sport and
the rest is history. I haven't seen that done yet by any of the top
draw women fighters. Billie Jean is the case study for how to make
5.Finally don't criticize what you don't understand. If nothing else
I ran TV networks long before I promoted. I know the numbers inside
out and fighters, male or female think that promoters are making
fortunes off of them and even if they're not fighters think it's
their birthright to take the promoters money regardless of profit.
While fighters work hard, so do promoters. Stop thinking you're
getting ripped off. I'm here, a half a million dollars later to tell
you that you are not. And for those of you saying, "give me the half
a mil and I'll show you how to do it". I say "get real, and get back
in the gym." We did try to rejuvenate AROTO back in February of last
year. The fighters had amnesia. They just wouldn't fight for our
budget to get things started again. Well the volume of women's
fights have fallen off dramatically. There's no organization and
there's no TV. I'm not running for office nor do I want to do this
again. Just trying to take your passion and try and direct it and
maybe, just maybe, someone will pick up the ball and run with it.
Just trying to share the experiences and the beliefs.
In 2004 I thought the time had come for women's boxing to take
center stage. In 2009 I feel the same way, maybe more so. There's
some great gifted athlete's in women's boxing and there's a large
public just waiting to see them. I may not get there with you but
you can get there. But not by wishin' and hopin' . You need a plan.
Good luck to all.