NBC Sports Network will feature a new boxing show that will showcase prospects and hardworking veterans of the sport. When HBO stopped showing boxing we lost Boxing After Dark and ESPN ended their Friday Night Fights series fans lost a chance to see up and comers and veterans fight for their last chance. Ed Rutkowski, a former HBO Boxing Employee, sat down with Chris Mannix on his DAZN boxing podcase to discuss his upcoming boxing programming. With the fall of HBO and ESPN’s end to Friday Night Fights a hole exists in the sport for showcase cards of good fights but lower level action. Of course boxing is pushed by its stars and the big main events and pay per view cards but the evenly matched contests, cross roads fights, and build up fights for prospects help keep fans engaged and are great for the fighters. Ring City USA is not an original idea but it pays homage to Tuesday Night Fights of old and is a chance for fight fans to see new names and former familiar names soldier on in well matched fights. Rutkowski states “you will never see mismatches like 20-1 main events” and “the 0 is not that important”. I love that outlook to be honest from a fan perspective, give us the fights. Sometimes I don’t care who headlines or what the “storyline” is, just give me a fun back and forth type of fight and make me a new fan of a fighter. I think this program will give us a chance to see new guys to root for. The cards will take place on Thursdays from the parking lot of the Wild card Gym in Los Angeles. I love the idea of weekday boxing as the sport often competes with other events on weekends and can sort of have the calendar to itself on weekdays. For young people who go out on the weekends they can watch boxing in the middle of a busy week and get lured into the sport which is great for those hoping to see our sport expand.
On a side note I love the Wild Card Gym and everything they do for boxing. I was fortunate to get a chance to hit the gym there on Vine Street just off of Santa Monica Boulevard in 2019. I called the number and a familiar voice from so many HBO boxing shows emerged from the other side, Freddy Roach. I pretended to not be star struck signing the waver and handing over my ten dollars to get a day’s work in. I had a belly full of Tecate beer from the previous night and a furious hang over as I banged away at the heavy bag in a gym full of real fighters. I felt like Sylvester Stallone pounding the bag proud to see Roach watching me though I probably resembled an uncoordinated bum that he was shaking his head at. The gym did allow me to feel welcome and it opens its doors to people off the street to a legend like Manny Pacquiao.
I recommend all fight fans to check this show out which debuts November 19th.