Those of us with a stake in boxing’s future won a small battle this weekend when ESPN aired a segment on the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board as part of last week’s Friday Night Fights.
So far, TBRB’s rankings have been adopted by eight boxing-specific websites, but in terms of mainstream exposure, there has been little beyond a mention on The Wall Street Journal’s website. ESPN broadcaster Teddy Atlas recently endorsed TBRB, an enormous step in terms of publicity, but there will still be a long way to go before TBRB is truly a player on the global boxing landscape.
Few sports have proved to be more consistently resistant to change than boxing. For now, TBRB is simply an alternative for fed-up fight fans to turn to. If that’s all that it ever becomes, the founders are OK with that and will continue forward.
It’s no secret that Stiff Jab is a member and huge supporter of TBRB; we now exclusively refer to the TBRB rankings and only recognize champions when the board does. But ESPN is the biggest name in sports media, and their support can make or break efforts such as this.
Much credit should go to analyst and trainer Teddy Atlas, who is one of the few people in the boxing media willing to call things as he sees them. His support has provided TBRB with a shot in the arm, and will hopefully lead to more site joining us by adopting our rankings.