The date of March 27, 2008, doesn't immediately jump out as a landmark moment in boxing history. Verno Phillips decisioning away Corey Spinks' IBF Junior Middleweight title was a shock to some, but certainly nothing historic .
Yet the story for some isn't in the fight itself, but the way that the fight was broadcast. Live on a Thursday night in St. Louis, promoter Don King's site, DonKingTV.com, made the Spinks - Phillips fight the first world title bout in history to be broadcasted live and for free on the internet.
The card called "The Pride of St. Louis", featured rising local star Devon Alexander and the city's only current champion, Cory Spinks. It drew over a million page hits and an estimated 400,000 unique page views, making it an extremely successful launch.
The website has shown two live world title broadcasts since that time, Adrian Diaconu's WBC interim title winning effort over tough Texan Chris Henry in Romania and Yusuke Kobori's shock knockout win over former WBA Lightweight title holder Jose Alfaro.
All three bouts can still be seen on the website.Three title fights in three different countries in a span of less then two months is impressive, but those affiliated with Don King and the website think the site is just in it's infancy and only beginning to put it's imprint on the broadcasting spectrum.
Other sports have been streamed over the internet before. The NCAA men's college basketball tournament was just a click away for anyone who had an internet connection. Yet the NCAA tournament was never in danger of not being seen, with TV time at a premium for boxing.
Boxing fans without premium cable packages generally find themselves in the dark when it comes to boxing. Many boxing fans have migrated to the internet as the only way to follow the sport rather then relying on morning newspaper print or television to report the latest in the sport. This is an audience that those at Don King want to target.
Jeanne King Battle, a DKP spokesperson, recognizes the changing of the guard in the way that sports are reported and broadcasted.
"This is a technology age, we're trying to open the door to the younger audiences," says Battle. "Boxing has to move with the times, we're bringing live fights to the web. This is moving boxing forward, bringing it to the computer screen of the next generation."
The next generation is something Battle believes will most greatly benefit from the site. "It's easy for world title fights to land on TV but we're going to be looking to put a lot of prospects on the site, fighters who maybe wouldn't have the chance to be seen otherwise and really develop them and raise an awareness among the fans."
The site also plans on not just exclusively broadcasting Don King fighters and is reaching out to smaller promoters all over the world offering to work out plans to show fights that otherwise would not have been seen by anyone not in attendance.
Already, other promoters have followed suit as Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing Promotion has inked a deal with internet broadcaster GoFightLive.com to air fights as well.
Just how does broadcasting a card over the internet differ from broadcasting over television airwaves? Jimmy Adams, DonKingTV.com Director, says the answer is clear.
"We did the Diaconu fight on about a three day notice, something we never would have been to accomplish on television," says Adams. "The difference is there is none of the middlemen or special contracts that you have to deal with on TV."
Technology is also a big part of the picture. "We have the technology to deliver a clear, high quality stream now and we've got a lot of positive feedback on not just the broadcasts but the quality of the picture," adds Adams.
As technology continues to improve every day, the question is just how far can this medium go? With none of the pressures brought on by the giant television networks, the potential is seemingly limitless.
While she proudly reflects on the show from St. Louis, Battle is also firm in thinking that the broadcast was only the beginning of something that could possibly reshape the way fights are seen for the rest of time.
"The St. Louis broadcast was definitely a monumental moment for us," she exclaims. "Don [King] has undertaken this personally, it's something he feels passionately about, something he thinks is advancing the sport in the right direction and something he wants to be remembered for when his career is over.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for boxing, they [other promoters)]would be fools not to get into this, this is the future."
About how far this can ultimately end up, Battle is not shy in setting goals. "Don is really pushing the cutting edge here. Our goal is that there is a day where no fight of any significance is unseen."