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Boxing To Disappear from Television Screens in 1964

Dec. 22, 1963 - Boxing, the sport that played a major role in popularizing television 16 years ago, will disappear from the national screen in the next few months. ABC-TV’s schedule for the fall of 1964 does not include a boxing show. ABC’s current Friday night show is the only network program of boxing still on the air. The heyday of televised boxing came in the infancy of the medium. On December 5, 1947 (pictured) and June 25, 1948, the T.V. industry had two of its most exciting programs when Joe Louis successfully defended his heavyweight crown against the aging but cunning Jersey Joe Walcott. Owners of the pioneer 10-inch T.V. sets were deluged with neighbors and friends eager to see the fights. The word-of-mouth praise of T.V. and the attendant publicity sold receivers by the thousands. By 1952, there were Wednesday night fights on CBS and Friday night fights on NBC. By 1959, both CBS and NBC had given up, but ABC continued the bouts either on Friday or Saturday nights. Waning interest in boxing, unsavory publicity for the sport after the post-fight deaths of Benny Paret in 1962 and Davey Moore this year, and the economics of television were among the reasons for terminating the last showcase for matches below top championship caliber. The loss of a regular national T.V. outlet is expected to have major repercussions for boxing. Payments from television have been a primary source of income for many fighters.


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