UNCASVILLE, Conn.—Undefeated junior middleweight Tony Harrison sees boxing’s return to network television as reinvigorating a sport that erred for decades in pricing out its core audience.
“Of course boxing is making a comeback,” Harrison tells Breitbart Sports. “We’re starting to see top opposition against top opposition. That’s what happened in the ’80s and the ’90s. Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns were fighting each other. Hagler was fighting…and Duran was fighting.”
Harrison improved to 21-0 with a third-round stoppage of an aging and paunchy Pablo Munguia, a Mexican gravedigger brought in on short notice, in the main event of this weekend’s Friday Night Fights.
The “Pride of the 313” fights among Al Haymon’s stable of fighters. The mysterious magnate’s push to return boxing to free television, forging deals with NBC, ABC, and CBS as well as cable networks ESPN and Spike, has generated renewed interest in a sport that enjoyed a golden age back when it priced itself right for the common man at free.
“That’s the way to get the fans back involved with boxing,” Harrison believes, pointing to Haymon’s strategy. “Not boxing loving fans, but just the regular, basic, [every]day fan. Basic TV—people love basketball because they just see it all the time.” Harrison believes that airing ring cards regularly on free TV and basic cable, the way basketball and other major sports appear, will win it back the audience it lost when the sweet science ceased as a staple of the idiot box.
“It’s on free TV,” Harrison points out of recent changes. “You don’t have to buy it any more. You just got to have regular basic cable.”
Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions returns to Spike TV this Friday night with a card that features undefeated super middleweight Anthony Dirrell versus 18-1 Badou Jack in the main event.