Call me one-eyed but ... it's still a good idea

Boxing anyone?

I'll confess there is an eye-patch involved when I delve into the following topic because, yes, I am a bit of a boxing fanatic.

However, with that patch off, and with my honest opinion to boot, I lean towards thinking ILT Stadium Southland manager Nigel Skelt's statement is right, in regard to the chance to host a big-time professional boxing card - a card headlined by New Zealand's exciting young heavyweight Joseph Parker.

Skelt said "it is a massive opportunity for Invercargill".

Duco Events director Dean Lonergan visited Invercargill on Wednesday to meet Skelt and talk about the idea.

Both left the meeting full of enthusiasm.

Lonergan is in the business of events, and making money from them, and he thinks it would be a success.

Skelt feels it could become Invercargill's biggest event on the calendar, in regard to international status.

But it is still unknown whether the community funders will also see it as a great opportunity, and whether they would be willing to play a part in ensuring the event does come to Invercargill.

The first positive is that it would be a great chance for Southlanders to watch an international sporting event on their on doorstep. That alone would be great.

Then there are the potential economic benefits for the city, with people coming to Invercargill to watch it live.

There would be the promotional spin-offs, through television coverage.

If Parker and Duco Events' other marquee boxer, light heavyweight Robbie Berridge, remain unbeaten before they get to Invercargill, they would be close to ranking in the top five in the world.

That means ESPN, HBO, Main Event and the likes would be eager to take the broadcast out of Stadium Southland.

Is it my eye-patch or do you too think this would be a success for Invercargill? I would love to get your thoughts.

Cheerleaders or straight shooters?

In recent years, I've grown to love reading and watching debates about the on- and off-field drama of the NRL.

There is never a shortage of opinions from current and former players. They speak the truth.

I've pondered why programmes, like Australian Fox Sports' NRL 360 and Monday Night with Matty Johns, have much more appeal than Sky Sport's equivalent rugby programmes in New Zealand.

A comment yesterday by Sky TV boss John Fellet confirmed it for me.

When asked whether he thought the Sky Sports team's "cuddly" approach with the athletes in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games was professional, he replied: "But we have you guys [other media] for the dispassionate coverage of sport".

It is a comment attached to all sports outside the Commonwealth Games as well.

This attitude is why rugby fans in New Zealand miss out on the honest televised sporting debate that is offered up across the Ditch in rugby league?

In my view, former sporting stars are employed as television analysts because they are privy to information and various details that your everyday sports follower doesn't have. They have good contacts.

With the likes of Gordon Tallis, Matt Johns and Ben Ikin, rugby league has that, but in New Zealand rugby we don't.

With Sky's rugby commentators all about keeping the NZRU happy and toeing the party line, we are getting short-changed.

In 2009, former All Black Murray Mexted was hooked by Sky TV as a comments man, because he criticised the NZRU.

What do you want, cheerleaders? Or people willing to voice their opinion, whatever it is?

The Southland Times