Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A More Formal Introduction

After one month of Saturday Night Boxing and reaching the milestone of 1,000 fans on the Facebook page for the blog, I thought it was time for a more proper introduction. I wanted to let you know a little bit more about the blog, its founder, what to expect in the future and a few interesting stats about the readership and the fans of Saturday Night Boxing.

First of all, let me say that I'm excited that so many have you have taken the time to read my posts, become a fan and comment on my observations and articles.  Although, providing my opinions about the world of boxing was the initial motivating factor behind the blog, the interaction and the responses from you, the readers, create the real excitement.

SNB will feature two types of posts.  The first will be observations about the major figures and trends in boxing.  My goal for these posts will be to provide different slants and topics that are not expressed in mainstream boxing coverage.  I'm not going to follow the standard boxing reporter beat of previewing fights, obtaining quotes and providing predictions (although it's not possible to lay off the predictions completely). 

I'm avoiding these standard tasks because I think boxing reporters do a fine job in these areas and let's face it, I have a day job.  I can't call into to four press conferences a week and I have no backing sending me to weigh-ins, sparring sessions, global destinations etc.  However, as I said, I believe that these angles are being sufficiently covered.
What I believe is missing in boxing writing is the analysis of the major happenings in the sport as well as the lack of coverage regarding fighters' game plans and execution.  I get as excited as the next boxing fan when David Haye signs on to fight Wladimir Klitschko, but taking a step back and analyzing what that means to the fighters and the sport as a whole needs proper attention. 

It's not enough to predict that Sergio Martinez will win by a late stoppage.  The "why" and "how" to me are more important.  Last week's Martinez-Dzinziruk fight was so fascinating because of Martinez's game plan and Martinez’s pinpoint execution.  That fight proved the brilliance of Gabriel Sarmiento, Martinez's trainer.

The second type of article that will appear on SNB is the "Notes" post.  Here, I want to give my initial impressions of big fights.  It's great that some fighter won by a decision or an 8th round knockout, but again, why did that happen and how was that able to occur?  I'm very happy that the "Notes" articles have become the most well read content on SNB.  Like many of you, after a big fight, I get all jazzed up and I want to read as much as I can about what I just witnessed.  Hopefully, I can add to your post-fight enjoyment.

A few other things:  as the profile says on both the blog and the Facebook page, SNB's focus will be on the major players (boxers, trainers, promoters, networks) in boxing.  This will not be a forum for discussing 4-0 prospects, journeymen or faded veterans.  My goal here is to cover the boxing entities which are most familiar to broader boxing fans.  Practically every boxer I discuss can be found on a major network.  

Also, I am an American and spend almost all of my time in the U.S.  I try to write about as many international boxers as I can (Martinez, Donaire, Montiel, Argentina boxing, Dzinziruk, Alvarez, Haye, etc.), but for the most part, if they aren't appearing on American television, they will most likely not receive SNB attention.  There will be exceptions to this rule.  For instance, Frank Warren has a huge stable of fighters in the U.K. without much U.S. television exposure.  I'm sure for many of these fights I will be trolling the Internet looking for a feed.  If it’s a major fight, I’ll find it. 
I came to boxing the same way as many of you did: Mike Tyson.  I remember staying at home on Saturday nights as a kid watching Tyson fight Frank Bruno, Larry Holmes, etc.  For me, I was hooked.  As I grew older I stayed close to boxing, remembering fondly the Boye-Holyfield trilogy, the Tyson-Holyfield fights and the de la Hoya-Mosley pair. 

I think by 2001, I became a full-fledged boxing addict.  That year featured Don King's middleweight tournament and the riveting climax of Bernard Hopkins destroying Felix Trinidad.  In Hopkins, I found my favorite fighter.  Like the Executioner, I'm from Philadelphia.  However, that parochial connection was not really what drew me to him.  There are a lot of Philly fighters that I don't really enjoy watching and/or feel no particular attachment to. 

What drew me to Hopkins was his cerebral mastery of the sport.  How he consistently took away his opponents best weapons.  How he made world-class fighters always fight his fight.  How dispirited his opponents looked after fighting him.  Also, while rooting for Hopkins, I noticed pearls of wisdom coming from his corner by former trainer Bouie Fisher and later Naazim Richardson.  In terms of coming up with a strategy and executing game plan, there was no team that was better. 

I must admit that I do have some bias for Hopkins.  To my eyes, I have not had Hopkins losing a fight in the last decade.  His losses to Taylor and Calzaghe were controversial.  Most observers thought he won the first Taylor fight and the draw with Pascal.  I realize that I may give him extra benefits when scoring his fights. 

I also realize that when I score fights, I favor clean punching and defense over pressure fighters that don't land telling blows or jab-happy fighters that don't do any real damage.  I also like body shots and counterpunching.  There is no sweeter punch in boxing than Floyd Mayweather's check-hook. 

My first fight I ever saw live was the Cotto-Quintana and Margarito-Clottey double bill in December of 2006 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.  It was a birthday present and my girlfriend at the time got me floor seats and let me know that I didn't have to take her.  She wasn't even a boxing fan.  What an understanding girlfriend! 

When Cotto landed his finishing left hook, the crowd went wild.  The euphoria in the crowd after a great knockout is unbeatable.  

I probably see about three or four live fight cards a year.  My last one was Martinez’s crushing second-round knockout of Paul Williams.  That punch was so fast that most in the crowd didn’t even see it.  They way Williams fell over I thought it was a body shot at first. 

There is nothing like seeing a live fight.  For all of you that haven't had that experience yet, please pursue at your earliest convenience.  It will make you a fan for life.
I started the blog in early February.  Already I have 1,100 or so fans on Facebook.  Most of you found out about the site by clicking the ad on your Facebook profile page.  I started advertising the ad in 5 countries (U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada and Australia) and now have expanded to 25.  Interestingly, many people have found the site from countries in which I do not advertise, for instance, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Norway.  In total, I have fans on the Facebook page from 38 countries.  Not too bad for one month.   

The top three countries in terms of page views on the blog are the U.S., the U.K. and the Philippines.  The top three countries in terms of fans on Facebook are the U.K., Ireland and the U.S.  

Some other factoids:  70% or the fans of SNB on Facebook are under 25.  That sounds young but I don't know what the distribution on Facebook is as a whole.  Is 70% of the traffic on Facebook under 25?  I don't have that information. 

About 90% of the fans are men.  This number seems high to me.  But let me say, the girls that are fans of this site are a great looking bunch or they have wonderfully attractive profile avatars.  Welcome, my female readers and SNB Facebook fans.   

I always check the profile information once people join to see where they are from.  I never outgrew my love for geography.  Just this week, the site had its first new fans from the Ukraine, Sweden and India. 

The growth of the blog has been exciting to me.  I find myself checking Facebook and Saturday Night Boxing on Blogspot many times a day to see if more people have read the posts or became fans of the Facebook page.  

I encourage your feedback. Keep in mind that it's an all-ages Facebook site.  The feedback is what makes it fun.  Feel free to email me with comments.  And again, thank you for your time and consideration.  

Now let's get back to the boxing.

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