by Bobby Mac
OK, time to come clean.
I truly confess, mine ears and sensibilities never got along with the blithering sonorous proclamations handed down to captive viewing audiences by the imperious Howard Cosell.
We only wanted to watch a good fight and here was some bald noggin sandwiched between a toupee and yeller suit trying to tell us what we were already watching. He was near clueless about the sport and often launched into stories unrelated to the ongoing ring action. What was that all about?
They did give Howie his own show and it was cancelled inside 3 months because nobody showed up to watch……….DUHHHHHHH!!!!!!
At least when my critics wish to skip over me, they are allowed to do so in complete freedom of choice since they are not held captive to this page for boxing content.
I was not alone. Numerous sports and entertainment figures as well as the general public clashed with Cosell‘s personality and broadcast style. Certainly he had his moments of prescience as we all do from time to time, and he was an icon for decades in boxing and near as recognizable figure as Ali himself. Yet he was only just this year elected to the IBHOF because it took 15 yrs for the bile he produced to settle out from his career.
I was reminded of those days most recently in the Showtime broadcast of Kessler/Froch. Gus Johnson has an annoying habit of barking into his shorts anytime a shot lands that he actually sees, leaping into dramatic hysteria about the fighter being hurt that was Cosell’s signature.
Indeed, Froch landed a decent right hand on Kessler, but in this case Kessler immediately jumped on Froch, blasting him to the ropes, going for a finish as Johnson is still lagging on about Kessler being hurt.
Really? And Johnson got paid how much for that load?
Then there is the specter of fruitless attempts to reach into the screen to strangle Jim Lampley running off at the mouth about punch numbers as Max Kellerman preens for airspace with his Uncle Howie impersonations of nonsense.
Now, I’ve got two strong arms, so why can’t I throttle the two simultaneously as is needed to restore peace and harmony to the world?
Sure, turn the volume down, but I’m trying to listen to the crowd, the punches, the exertions by the fighters, the instructions by the ref, and so forth to get a feel for the fight, so why do major broadcasters over-dub the sound of The Sport of Kings with what could best be described as fingernails screeching across a blackboard?
Wouldn’t a popcorn machine popping in the background at least cost less, be more soothing, and induce some “Official Sponsors” to market flickering caption banners of related food and beverage products and give us a more palatable sound for the moment?
If not, why can’t we have a broadcast volume control to adjust the event noise separate from the broadcast, with me turning the broadcast down to a whisper….or less?
It’s no wonder boxing is losing market share to other sports. Good, God, man, at least put some mufflers on the gas bags and impose a word limit so we can watch the spectacle unfold in something resembling it’s proper context.
And make em speak Polish so I can at least hold out hope they really do know what they are talking about!