Before David Haye suffered a
cut in sparring that nixed his bout against Tyson Fury, HBO was scheduled to
telecast a tripleheader (from three different sites, no less) this upcoming
weekend. The light heavyweight championship bout between Adonis Stevenson and
Tavoris Cloud from the Bell Centre in Montreal and Julio
Cesar Chavez Jr.’s return versus
Brian Vera from the StubHub Center in Carson, California were scheduled to
accommodate the now-canceled heavyweight bout from Britain.
It was to have
started a run of three-bout broadcasts on HBO as the network begins a busy
stretch of boxing (from September 28 to the end of November, they have nine
cards - two of which are pay-per-view - in a 10-week span).
And it says here it
shouldn't be just a trend but the norm moving forward.
Yes, imagine that; more
boxing for our cable bill is something I'm calling for.
Just think about it; how
many times have we been frustrated by telecasts featuring only one fight (most
of which have been on HBO in recent years). It's like going to a restaurant and
only getting the main entree. And if that lone bout is a dud, well, that just
seems like a bit of a waste; doesn't it? It leaves you unfulfilled. When
I go out to eat, I want the salad or soup, an appetizer, the main course and
then maybe dessert (I'm trying to watch my figure, after all).
And as a fan, while I have
high standards for the featured attraction on HBO, Showtime or pay-per-view, as
it relates to what rounds out the broadcast, I lower the bar a bit for the
semi-main. Now, as for what rounds out a tripleheader, honestly, all I
usually ask for is to show me a bright young up-and-comer or an anticipated
fight from overseas that otherwise wouldn't be shown out here in the States.
Hey, I'm a realist. I
understand that in a three-fight broadcast, not every fight is a going to be a
four-star match-up. The bottom line is when you have network budgets to adhere
to, that's simply not feasible. In the case of most broadcasts at the premium
cable level, the majority of money is spent on the main event. Now, can boxing
broadcasts featuring more than two fights become tedious and an exercise in
Absolutely. Case in point
was last year’s bold experiment by Showtime (which, to its credit, has given the
hardest of the hardcore fans an option to watch selected undercard bouts
on its Extreme channel) that featured a quadruple-header from Carson
that seemed to linger on like a Jerry Lewis telethon. The problem on that night
was every single fight went the distance and by the time Antonio Tarver and
Lateef Kayode had finished flailing away at each other over 12 rounds, you had
viewer fatigue. This was absolutely a case of diminishing returns. But on
the flipside, the extra slots on that show introduced us to Leo Santa Cruz, who
has become a fan favorite. So yes, there has to be a balance between quantity
and quality. Matchmaking is still paramount. Sometimes more can be less if you
don't have the right fights or fighters.
On August 17th,
HBO broadcasted a tripleheader featuring Sergey Kovalev's butchering of Nathan
Cleverly from the U.K. and then two fights from Atlantic City, where Kiko
Martinez stopped Jhonatan Romero for the IBF 122-pound belt and Darren Barker
gained an entertaining back-and-forth victory for the IBF middleweight title
against Daniel Geale. It was a fun night of fights and you felt like you had
your proper fill of boxing by the time the night was over. It wasn't too short
and it didn't drag on too long either and we got some memorable moments
out of it.
On October 26th,
Showtime was originally going to have a card featuring Bernard
Hopkins defending his IBF light heavyweight belt against Karo Murat
and WBO middleweight titlist Peter Quillin facing Gabe Rosado. It was announced
late last week that they were adding heavyweight Deontay Wilder to this
telecast. Now, Hopkins-Murat is probably the least anticipated fight on the upcoming Showtime calendar. Let’s be
honest; it's pretty hard to plan your night around this match-up. But depending
on who Wilder is paired with (hopefully a live body who can punch a bit), this
card could be a lot more intriguing than before.
Again, just give me a
prospect or a foreign fight saving me from a hazy and unreliable stream
in the three hole.
The evening of October 5th,
HBO has Miguel Cotto's return to the network against Delvin Rodriguez from
Orlando alongside Terence Crawford versus Andrey Klimov. Rounding out this HBO
telecast is the heavyweight title tilt between Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander
Povetkin from Russia. So here we have the return of a star, a young contender
and a significant title fight from overseas. No, it's not the greatest card
you'll ever see but I do think it has a chance to provide some fun moments.
Other tripleheaders are
basically borne from necessity as is the case with HBO’s November 9th card, which now has bout between Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade
joining the fights featuring Mikey Garcia and Nonito Donaire. Chavez Jr.’s bout
on September 7th was postponed, causing a shuffling of the deck (Martirosyan-Andrade
was the semi-main for Chavez-Vera on that date).
Is there a chance that extra
fights will lead to more duds being televised (ahem…Jermell Charlo-Demetrius Hopkins)?
Absolutely. But it will also lead to more young fighters (case in point: Santa
Cruz) who will have an opportunity to gain valuable exposure to the viewing
public and flourish. It can go both ways but I'd like to have the option of
Football fans are
conditioned to invest three-and-a-half hours when watching a game, baseball
fans around three (OK, OK…four-and-a-half looong hours when the Yankees
and Red Sox play), basketball fans around two-and-a-half. There's no reason to
believe boxing fans would have any problems budgeting more than two hours of
their Saturday nights. Part of the fun of a pay-per-view gathering is you know
you are locked in for several hours of your evening (although Floyd Mayweather-Saul
Alvarez was perhaps stretching it. A main event starting well past midnight? Geez…).
So why don't the networks
stage more three and four-fight broadcasts? Well, for one, money is an issue.
Secondly, from a programming standpoint, the longer boxing telecasts go, the
more difficult it is to sustain a high television rating. There is also always
this factor: they may not want to block off more than an hour or two for
boxing on a Saturday night (normally reserved for the premiere of movies and
But for us boxing fans,
yeah, more is more.
Three is certainly not a
I think there's a good
chance that Guillermo Rigondeaux will be back on HBO’s airwaves in December but
the network will not accept Chris Avalos as his dance partner...I'm told the
HBO show on November 16th in Ontario, California featuring Andre
Ward-Edwin Rodriguez will feature another bout in support...I think Vicente
Escobedo's career may have come to an end in Mexico, where he was halted in two
rounds by Fernando Carcamo...Thoroughly enjoyed “LT: The Life & Times” on
Showtime. A very honest and blunt look at a great linebacker, who found life
much tougher than the game of football...Right now, I think LSU has been more
impressive than Alabama...Yeah, I wouldn't even call Miami-Savannah State a
sparring session for the Hurricanes but hitting a heavy bag...OK, did you think
it would be the Giants that would be the worst football team in New York?...How
bout dem Dolphins?...
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