Sound For Sound: Pay Per View vs Subscription (The Choice Is Yours)

Sound For Sound is a recurring column that further explores the relationship of rhythm and boxing by celebrating the music that influences and motivates fighters as they prepare for, and to excel under, the game’s brightest of lights

After spending a couple of months in a lull DAZN’s schedule delivers a weekend laden with action in Rungvisai-Estrada 2 and Super Bantamweight unification bout Roman-Doheny happneing in Inglewood, CA, followed by the World Boxing Super Series’ Super Lightweight semi-final Prograis-Relikh taking place in Louisiana.

Pound-For-Pound ranked WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisasket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41KOs) returns to the U.S. for his fourth bout Friday, looking to go 2-0 versus the versatile Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs) in the main event.

April 25, 2019; Los Angeles, CA; WBC/Ring Magazine super-flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada pose after weighing in for their April 26th Matchroom Boxing USA fight card at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) faces late replacement Stephon Young (18-1-3, 7 KOs) Saturday night in Lafayette, LA, instead of the 36-year old Bantamweight getting a shot at adding Zolani Tete’s WBO belt to go along with his WBA title. With the injured Tete out, the night’s most compelling bout becomes WBA Super Lightweight champion Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs) versus Louisiana native Regis Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs).

DAZN subscribers will be able to stream all of this action as part of their $9.99 monthly subscription. There may be some informed new subscribers who give in, and opt to sign up for a month at $19.99, looking to add this week’s action to go along with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Daniel Jacobs on May 4.

Conversely, some boxing fans may be experiencing a little heartburn, or buyer’s remorse, after investing in this year’s Pay Per View events Pacquiao-Broner (February), Spence-Garcia (March) and last weekend’s Crawford-Khan. These three events averaged fight fans about $73. Regardless of whether those cards top-to-bottom were any good, the main events of each card featured trace amounts of the best of what boxing delivers to its loyal fight fans.

The next 10 days on boxing’s calendar embodies emcee Dres’ iconic ultimatum: You can get with this, or you can get with that.

A major problem with the aforementioned Pay Per View events was the undercards were pretty lackluster, and while Crawford-Khan featured some important fights for rising prospects Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez, Amir Khan’s 2017 (inactive) and 2018 served as glaring red flags – and for $69.99. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum attempted to present fans with an event that was greater than the sum of it parts (well its top B-side), but the main event’s awkward ending left the entire night flat.

In contrast, the sum of the parts is what makes Black Sheep’s second single from their gold-selling debut LP A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)”,  such a standout song back in 1991. In order to fully respect “Choice”, one has to appreciate the unique production and sound of the Queens duo’s introduction to hip hop fans – “The Flavor of the Month.”

“Choice” is such a well-produced hip hop song that it seems to resurface in the mainstream almost annually. Remarkably, Black Sheep’s most notable song was built out of samples from a genre-spanning collection of songs created by a diverse group of artists.

  • “Big Sur Suite” by Johnny Hammond (a short organ sample)
  • “I’ll Say It Again” by Sweet Linda Divine (the grunt and “C’mon!”)
  • “Her Favorite Style” by Iron Butterfly (the song’s jumpy guitar)
  • “Keep On Doing It” by The New Birth (the drum loop)
  • “Engine Engine No. 9” by Roger Miller (self explanatory)
  • “Impressions” by McCoy Tyner (the moving bass-line)
  • “Humpin” by The Bar-Kays (the guitar licks)

Mista Lawnge, the primary provider of the group’s sound, is credited as the producer of the track. Feel free to dig into how he turned that “undercard” into a main event that continues to get spins nearly 30 years after dropping.

Black Sheep hit the scene as one of the final pieces of the collective known as The Native Tongues – following in the steps of bigger brothers A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul – and generally speaking the lyrical content of their albums typically dealt with a variety of everyday life experiences that were familiar to its fans. In the opening verse Andres “Dres” Titus is in full promoter mode, and he intends to deliver without onlookers being left holding the bag:

Wasn’t in my room, wasn’t in my sphere
Knew not who I was, but listen here
Dres, D-R-E-S, yes I guess I can start
If it’s all right with you, I’ll rip this here one apart
Back, Middle, to the front, don’t front
wanna a good time, gonna give you what you want

In the second verse Dres’ tough self-encouragement represents this writer going into last Saturday after realizing ESPN was not distributing Crawford-Khan to theaters, as a budget-friendly option for frugal fans. The need to stay strong was imperative, paying $70 for a questionable product was unacceptable after said writer was strong-armed into purchasing Spence-Garcia – with zero “investors” present to split the bill.

Where’s the Black Sheep, here’s the Black Sheep
Even if we wanted to the flock could not be weak
Watch me swing like this, why should I swing it like that,
Because in fact, on me it might not attract
Therefore I ignore, do as I feel inside
I live with me, I’ve got my back tonight
Ya know what I’m saying, yo Black, I’m not playing
Need to go with this, or go with that with no delaying
See, in actuality, wonder can it be,
I made it look easy, because it is to me
Any time capacity was filled, try to rock it
Any time a honey gave us play, tried to knock it

There is too much boxing being aired right now for promoters to rely on Pay Per View frequently. Furthermore, promoters can’t continue to rely on fans who do attempt to support good fighters, and good fights, by paying for their Pay Per View events when these fans can scroll through Facebook in between rounds, and observe a live feed with 900 people watching one good Samaritan’s live stream for free. Free, free-free, free. Then, to go onto a boxing forum and regularly hear that U.K. fight fan only pays £27 GBP – the equivalent to $34.82 USD. The world is just too flat for Pay Per Views.

Hopefully Rungvisai-Estrada 2 exceeds the entertainment value of the first fight, and that Roman-Doheny goes off as a great clash of styles. The World Boxing Super Series may not be a part of DAZN’s line-up in ’20, but the WBSS might not even be around altogether. If we’re lucky, the next to weeks is filled with the right type of action that sparks a watershed moment in terms of the future of delivering boxing to its fans. If the rumblings about the 2019-second half plans of Premier Boxing Champions are true, and bouts like Pacquiao-Thurman and Spence-Porter are headed for Pay Per View (and Deontay Wilder could possibly need a year-end date) Dres must’ve been foreshadowing the arrival of DAZN with the intuition in his chorus’ ending:

I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at

Bonus play

As many of today’s most popular rappers continue to dumb things down with a limited range of subject matter, and struggle to release material with a modicum of individuality and/or real creativity, legendary producer Pete Rock might have the essential soundtrack for any upcoming road work or jump roping sessions. Money Earnin’ Mt. Vernon’s finest delivers a dope new set of instrumentals entitled The Return Of The SP1200, and it drops April 26.

Photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Lyrics verified with the help of genius.com 

 

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