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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 17:47 GMT
Ask BBC Boxing editor
BBC Boxing editor Jim Bentley
Quiz Jim Bentley
Read his replies below

You sent your questions and comments to BBC Boxing editor Jim Bentley, who responded to them on Thursday 27 November.

The BBC boxing team cover fights from around the world, and were interested to hear what you think about our coverage.

You sent us questions and comments about our presenters and pundits, and said if you were happy with our choice of fights throughout the year.

You can listen to Jim's answers via the audio link on this page - or read them in full below.

Thankyou for your questions.


Mark

It's great to see pro boxing back on terrestrial TV, especially the big fights from America. Is there any chance of getting delayed coverage of the Hopkins - Joppy and Mayorga-Spinks fights on December 13.

Jim B: There are about six title fights on that bill - and it would be a great one to show. Unfortunately our American deal is just with HBO at the moment - and the bill you're on about is promoted by Don King.

Don usually expects loads of money for those and I would imagine it is quite an expensive one!

We have no airtime on Sunday 14 December and to put it out live in the early hours of the morning wouldn't make economic sense. It would be great to have and obviously that night would be a great one for boxing but we don't have the money.


Johnny, Ireland

I do appreciate the BBC taking up boxing again - but - why are your fights shown so late in the evening, and why isn't there any pre-fight build-up to capture the atmosphere?

Jim B: This goes back in a sense to a point I made earlier - sometimes it isn't always possible to show fights when we want to, and screening them live doesn't always make economic sense.

I'm sure HBO or whoever would be happy for us to show them live, but it's really the economic question once again.

Your question about the build-up is a difficult one! I love them - for me the ring walks and eyeballing are part and parcel of the whole event, but because we are in a situation where out fights go on so late at night - does the viewer really want to watch all that for 15 minutes before the first bell goes?

Most of the shows I've edited tend to have a quick introduction and then the fight, so people are not crawling up the stairs to bed! In saying that - we did the full walk-ons for the Clinton Woods fight and were getting 1.9m at midnight, so you have a point.


David Shield, England

When are we going to see some big domestic heavyweight fights on BBC TV?

Jim B: I'd love to have some big domestic fights on. If for example we got Audley Harrison and Danny Williams in the ring that would be fantastic.

We've been hoping to get Danny and Herbie Hide together and we thought we had it made for December, but then Herbie said he didn't want to fight Danny.

If the fighters don't want it what can we do? In saying that Audley recently said that before next summer he wants to fight for the British title. That means he'll fight Danny and I'm sure he wouldn't turn a fight with Audley down.


Robbie Keane, England

Why don't you show the big fights from the states live?

Jim B: The big fights from the states would be nice - but it goes back to my previous answer about HBO. It would be nice but convincing controllers than Bernard Hopkins and William Joppy are massive names is tricky.

We know that they're great fights but convincing them to put it on in the morning when you're delivering an audience of 250,000 (and costing us a few 100,000 to put on) they'll argue that it's not worth it.


Joe Hillier, England

Your promotion is terrible, we never know when the boxing is on - what can be done to improve this?

Jim B: Joe, this is something we have taken on board in the past month. We've met with our publicity team to increase coverage. Even within our own department there is a general lack of knowledge - which is shocking really - so I agree with you.

I don't think it's just the BBC's fault. A lot of the promoters sign up with the BBC and then think they don't have to do anything - we'll just leave it to the BBC!

But I know there is more we can do, both with publicity, Radio Five Live and the BBC Boxing website.


Chris, Scotland

I'm not a big fan of Jim Neilly - does he really know anything about boxing? I'm not keen on Duke McKenzie either - he gets an idea in his head and sticks to it.

They both get their names and facts wrong on a regular basis!

Jim B: The thing with Jim and Duke is that they sit there (especially Duke) and get absorbed in the fight. I know Duke was calling Antonio Tarver Taverner a few weeks ago, and calling John Ruiz - David Ruiz, but Duke knows they are mistakes - it's not a lack of knowledge.

He knows his boxing more than anyone, and I'm of the opinion that people should get excited about watching a fight. I'm happy to put up with a few mistakes if they convey the excitement.

Take the recent Rugby World Cup final commentary by Ian Robertson. To hear Rob Andrew shouting in the background as the drop-goal went over is what it's all about.

As for Jim - I'd be surprised if he gets many stats wrong - he does his homework and if anything occasionally uses too many! I have no plans to change either of them at the moment.


Rob Morris, England

There are strong rumours in the press that the BBC sports dept doesn't have much of a budget left after buying back the rights for the Premiership.

The recurring theme is that the boxing coverage will be the first to suffer, which would be a shame. Can you confirm or deny this?

Jim B: That's a tricky one - there are rumours, and I hear them all the time - but I'm not sure it's just to do with the football. Obviously we paid quite a bit of money to get the Premiership rights back, so there will be cut-backs, but I think the main problem is that 2004 is such a busy year in sport.

Euro 2004, the Olympic Games and all the usual sporting events are taking place, so even if we were as busy as we are now I'd imagine that for the three to four summer months you wouldn't see any boxing on television because there is nowhere to put it.

We are not going to get out of boxing, and will be looking at a few other contracts. But to be honest I'm probably as in the dark as you are over this! So I know I'll sound like a politician, but I can neither confirm nor deny the rumours!


Ray Lawrence, UK

What are the chances of any fights being shown on BBC Three or any of the digital services?

Jim B: I'm not really sure what BBC Three's strategy is to be honest - I know it's for the youth - but they've always seemed keen to avoid sport if at all possible! In saying that, they've recently had Manchester City's UEFA cup matches and I think those were some of their biggest audiences.

Equally, I know there was internal criticism because that's not really BBC Three's remit. Personally I think there should be an outlet on BBC Three for boxing, because for me it hits that audience they're targeting.

We're also looking into doing a monthly magazine programme, and if they were interested in it I would be delighted. Obviously if you're on BBC Three then the two main channels can pick up on that.


Vikram Sangar, Middlesex

Have you ever thought about having a regular Boxing Magazine programme - a 'Boxing Focus' and is there any chance of having a Christmas Special with all the best fights over the past year?

Jim B: We've done a pilot of a boxing magazine show, which was great. Steve Bunce did a feature on Kirkland Laing, which you may have seen go out.

Ronald McIntosh made a piece on women's boxing, and Ben Anderson who is a boxing fan, did a feature for us too. We're still waiting to hear if it's a starter!

As for a Christmas Special, I know Steve Bunce is very keen on the idea but - I know it may sound defeatist but I think it's a no-goer asking the channel controllers who are putting World Title fights on at midnight for a boxing special!

What I'm hoping is that we'll have a review during our last show of the year on December 13 - it's probably not what you want Vikram but I do apologise!


WATCH AND LISTEN
Quiz BBC boxing editor
Part 1: Jim answers your questions


Quiz BBC boxing editor
Part 2: Jim responds to your comments




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