Tuesday, August 9, 2011

State of SNB

I thought I would take the sixth-month anniversary of the blog to tell you a little bit more about the direction of Saturday Night Boxing as well as some additional thoughts on what has already transpired.  First off, the popularity of Saturday Night Boxing has far exceeded my expectations.  With over 13,000 fans on Facebook from 104 countries and territories, the reach and scope of the blog's following continue to amaze me.

The mission of Saturday Night Boxing is simple; it's stated in the tag line – the big fights, the best fighters and the colorful characters in the world of boxing.  But what does that mean?  For one, I try to keep the posts and topics centered around major fighters and boxing figures.  It is not my goal to impress anyone by talking about some 6-0 club fighter who no one has ever heard of or seen.  I have no urge to cater to some upper 1% of the boxing intelligentsia.  And frankly, I don't want to compete in that game.  There are other places to learn about the Latvian boxing program, the amateur trainer of the Peruvian boxing team or the anonymous fighters trolling around the southeastern United States. 

I have come around on one topic.  In A More Formal Introduction, I stated that I wasn't interested in doing previews for big fights: I was wrong.  I have found great satisfaction in doing the "Four Scenarios" previews prior to big fights.  What I most objected to was a silly prediction without any support or meat.  Telling you that I think Manny Pacquiao will beat Juan Manuel Marquez by a decision doesn't really further the discussion all that much. 

In journalism, all articles answer six key questions – the "5 W's and the H."  Those letters correspond to “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why” and “how.”  For me, the goal of this site and why I like the Four Scenarios previews are to provide the "why" and the "how."  I believe that the other "W's" have been covered very well by traditional boxing reporters, but, the "why" and the "how" are woefully underrepresented.  How many boxing articles have you read that really attempt to explain how Floyd Mayweather shut down Shane Mosley or why David Haye was unable to get close to Wladimir Klitschko?  These are the aspects of boxing that fascinate me.  

For the preview pieces, it's not enough for me to say that Carl Froch is going to beat Glen Johnson.  I want to get into what tactics and strategy Froch will use to overcome his opponent.  What weaknesses can he exploit?  What are his limitations?  How good is his corner at making adjustments?  Were there any similar opponents or styles that troubled Froch or Johnson in the past?

It is my goal to come up with unique or different perspective on some of the major figures and events in boxing.  I don't want to do a write-up of the fights like you can get from 20 writers.  I want to share my impressions of the "how" and the "why."  

Additionally, I get a kick out of the somewhat peripheral figures in boxing.  You'll notice that I write frequently about trainers and promoters and boxing networks.  I love all that stuff.  I couldn't imagine the sport without people like Naazim Richardson, Bob Arum or Larry Merchant.  When I can, I'll highlight some under-the-radar boxing figures who play a prominent role in the sport, such as Ken Condon, the boxing czar in Atlantic City, or Steve Smoger, one of the best referees in the business.  

Also, it is my goal to keep this site as international as I possibly can.  Yes, I live in America and have access to more American fight cards than international ones.  However, I know that there are major fights that happen all around the world.  I was happy to write about the Marquez-Concepcion fight in Panama, the DeGale-Groves card in England and the Klitschko-Haye fight in Germany.  Additionally, I have written features on boxers from Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, England, Scotland, Ireland, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico.  Great boxers and memorable fights can come from anywhere.

I understand that not everything I'm going to write will dazzle you with profound insight or originality.  There are certainly a few posts of mine that I would love to rework if I could.  But I will keep trying to get better.  I tend to write when I feel like I have something significant to say.  If I lose readership by not posting enough, that is the trade-off that I make and I feel comfortable with that reality.   

And now for some housekeeping notes.  You will notice that I often publish posts in an irregular schedule.  One suggestion in staying current on the updated posts is to follow Saturday Night Boxing by email.  On the top right of the blog you will see the "Follow SNB by Email" heading.  Below that, you will see a white space where you can submit your email address.  All emails are sent out around 4:15 in the morning eastern standard time (not my choice for that bizarre time).  The posts sent by email display wonderfully on a mobile device or a work station/computer.  The one drawback is the delay.  If I put a post up at noon, you will not receive an email for another 16 hours or so.  

For the privacy people (count me in that category), I will not have any access to your email address or any other personal information.  The emails are sent through a secure system called Feedburner, which Blogger (owned by Google) uses as its encrypted third-party email vendor.  I'm not sure that anything is 100% safe in this world, but I use the Feedburner system and have had no problems, no spam and no complications.

For those who have arrived at the blog through search engines, referrals or direct traffic, Saturday Night Boxing has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/saturdaynightboxing.  It is there where I post new SNB pieces as well as other boxing-related opinions and conversation topics.  The give-and-take on the Facebook page has been a chief highlight of the last six months.  There are some wonderfully knowledgeable people that contribute to the SNB page, and we've had some great discussions.  I always look forward to hearing from the regulars and encourage new fans to post their thoughts and opinions.

I only have two rules on the Facebook page.  The first one is "no cursing."  Over 30% of my audience is under 18 and it's very important for me to keep this site family-friendly.  I believe that boxing really needs to grow the sport with younger audiences; I don't want to alarm parents or youngsters with the content of this site.  I want new people to enjoy boxing, to give their opinions and to form connections to the sport.  People should feel comfortable with SNB, whether they are 14 or 40, or whether they are from Nairobi, New Delhi or New York.  

Also, as a second rule, I don't allow people to post any professional advertisements on the Facebook page.  We get bombarded enough in our lives with various advertisements.  If you are going to post, make it genuine, don't sell us.  This is a place for discussion.  

SNB can also be found on Twitter – @snboxing.   Here I will make some pithy observations or shorter points.  Occasionally I will argue or agree with some of the other boxing writers/opinion makers out there.   I also do live tweeting during major fight cards.  Additionally, you can access all new posts from Twitter.  

I encourage you to send me your feedback/questions/ideas to the Saturday Night Boxing email address at saturdaynightboxing@hotmail.com.  Ideally, I wanted to respond to specific questions and points through mailbag-style posts, however, it seems that the Facebook page or the "Discussions" tab on the Facebook page have sufficed for the time being.  However, if you want to send something in a more long-form manner or if you have an interesting boxing question/opinion, feel free to send me an email.

It is my goal to update the blog at least three times a week.  Some weeks will be more.  During the slow seasons (such as August), it may be less.  If you have an interesting boxer/fight angle that you would like to have covered, let me know about it and I will strongly consider your feedback.

I apologize if this post was a little too self-indulgent.  However, I do feel it is important to update the SNB audience from time to time regarding my intentions and goals for Saturday Night Boxing.  Again, thank you so much for your support and let's keep this thing going.


Contact Saturday Night Boxing at saturdaynightboxing@hotmail.com.  
Follow Saturday Night Boxing on Facebook: 

and on Twitter: @snboxing (http://www.twitter.com/snboxing).  


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