The ‘SuperFly 2’ card should be super good
If one did a survey of all televised boxing matches in the 21st century, I suspect heavyweights would be significantly overrepresented. Boxing fans, particularly in the U.S., have long had a fascination with the heavyweights, and promoters and TV executives have attempted to feed that itch with a series of mostly awful and one-sided matches.
If I had to guess, I’d say the five divisions that have gotten the most airtime in the 21st century are, in no particular order, heavyweight, welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight and lightweight.
Very near the bottom, though, are the super flyweights and the flyweights. Sadly, we’ve missed out on a lot of great fights.
Thankfully, that has begun to change, and on Saturday from The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., HBO will broadcast promoter Tom Loeffler’s “SuperFly 2” card, with a series of flyweight and super flyweight bouts.
It began when Loeffler came up with the idea to pair long-time flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez on broadcasts with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. In the eyes of many — though admittedly not all experts — they were two of the five best fighters in the world by 2015, if not 1-2 in some order.
So Loeffler went to HBO and pitched executive Vice President Peter Nelson on the idea. It wasn’t as difficult, Loeffler admits, as he may have expected.
“It wasn’t that hard of a sell,” Loeffler said. “We were looking for a great pairing [to put with] Triple-G when he was fighting on HBO and when he was fighting on pay-per-view. Chocolatito just seemed like the natural fit. He was considered the number one pound-for-pound fighter at the time. He had a strong Hispanic following. With his performance in the ring ever since his HBO debut at The Forum when he knocked out Edgar Sosa in the second round and put on a tremendous display, ever since then, the fans really gravitated toward him.”
Gonzalez isn’t on Saturday’s card, but it is a deep and potentially explosive card. The show will be opened by an IBF title fight between champion Donnie Nietes, who hasn’t lost since 2004, against Juan Carlos Reveco. In the co-main event, Carlos Cuadras will face McWilliams Arroyo, and in the main, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai will take on Juan Francisco Estrada.
In a bout that won’t be televised on HBO, 2000 American Olympian Brian Viloria will challenge Artem Dalakian for the vacant WBA flyweight title. Viloria has had four stints as a world champion already and is the final member of the U.S. Olympic boxing team’s Class of 2000 still active.
Each of these bouts promises high contact, high skill level and an extremely fast pace, all things boxing fans seem to want.
Yet, undoubtedly, the ratings for this show won’t be as good as they would be if these were middleweights, or heavyweights.
Gonzalez was the guy whose amazing talent opened the door for jockey-sized fighters to appear regularly on American television broadcasts. Hopefully, the fan base will recognize the quality and the entertainment factor and tune in, because the percent of duds in these weight classes is far lower than in almost any other class.
We need more, not fewer, of these kinds of cards on television.