Free boxing worth the investment for promoters, fans

Free boxing? Count me in.

Saturday boxing is returning to primetime television in hard-hitting fashion. NBC featured two of boxing’s most prominent prospects with Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman in two separate matches Saturday.

While Broner’s bout with John Molina was not as exciting as  hyped to be, it still proved to be entertaining.

Broner out-boxed and out-smarted the lesser-experienced Molina. Many times, Broner caught Molina standing, almost waiting to get hit. Ringside punch stats reflected both Broner’s dominance and the ineffectiveness of Molina’s attack.

The best thing about Broner’s win? The money. Broner was paid $1.2 million, while Molina earned $450,000.

Now, Thurman v. Robert Guerrero was a bloodbath — exactly what viewers needed to see. I am not promoting violence, but with UFC casting a shadow over boxing for the younger generation, an exciting, hard-hitting fight was what new fans needed to see.

Thurman knocked Guerrero down in the ninth round and won on all three ringside scorecards to capture the WBA version of the 147-pound crown.

To many viewers, the fight seemed to be over when Thurman knocked Guerrero down, but like the fighter he is, Guerrero got up and fought — hard.

During many sequences in the fight, Guerrero seemed to be taking over. He left a noticeable bruise on the forehead of Thurman, while bleeding from a cut over his left eye late in the bout.

Thurman landed 211 of 598 punches to 104 of 497 for Guerrero. Thurman’s punching power was the key factor in this fight, and as tough and hard as Guerrero fought, Thurman was too much.  

Aside from the payday and gory fight, there’s a larger point.

Saturday’s event should capture the attention of new boxing fans. Honestly, the casual fan doesn’t know much of anything boxing-related aside from past greats, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. The more free boxing people get to the see, the more invested they become.

That’s how UFC started, especially with Spike TV deals and the Ultimate Fighter show. That’s how UFC got my attention.

Now if a pay-per-view event comes, I’m more likely to purchase, even if some of my favorite fighters aren’t on the card.

There’s nothing like investing in yourself. I know some may believe giving away free content isn’t much of an investment— well, that’s if you’re in for the instant gratification and not longevity.

Think of all of the musicians who started by giving away free music on the Internet (e.g. doing free shows, mix tapes and putting music on SoundCloud).

It’s like an internship. You have to climb the ranks to show why you have value.

Saturday boxing showed and reminded us why it still has value.