A must-get for Showtime?
It looks like a fight between Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse is on the one-yard line and it doesn’t look like either Banner Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions will run any slants. It’s very likely that this will be punched across the goal line and consummated for March 28, according to Artie Pelullo.
One of the remaining issues regards who would televise it, HBO or Showtime?
Showtime has made an offer on the fight and given its past relationship with Provodnikov, HBO has the right to match it and gain the rights to this heavily-anticipated 140-pound showdown.
Looking at HBO’s schedule for the first half of 2015, they are off to a very strong start (at least on paper):
* Feb. 21: Gennady Golovkin vs. Martin Murray
* March 14: Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal
* March 21: Terence Crawford vs. TBA
* April 25: Wladimir Klitschko vs. Bryant Jennings
* May (something): Saul Alvarez vs. James Kirkland
Meanwhile, across the street at Showtime, well…not much except for a pair of “ShoBox” broadcasts the next two months. But as of now, there are no “Showtime Championship Boxing” broadcasts on the docket. Usually cards of this nature are planned out at least two to three months in advance and we are now into February. The assumption is that they will do some major cards in 2015, eventually. It’s being thrown around that there is an edict from the very top of Showtime/CBS that Al Haymon – whose clients monopolized this network’s date over the past couple of years – is effectively barred from Showtime till the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight is finalized.
While that sounds plausible, it’s not like Haymon’s fighters are on the sidelines. In fact, they are getting assignments on various networks like NBC, Spike TV, NBC Sports Network, ESPN2 and who knows? Maybe soon to be PBS, C-SPAN, BET and OWN.
If you’re Showtime, perhaps grabbing Provodnikov-Matthysse is a must-get. Not only is this a can’t-miss pairing (try and give me five more attractive match-ups than this one) but the bottom line is, if you’re a subscriber to this network solely for its boxing programming, you need a reason to stay aboard.
On the flipside, HBO can already add to a strong 2015 line-up and further widen the gap between the two rival networks. The only issue is you can assume, based on the fights they already have scheduled, that they have spent a pretty good portion of their budget for the year. An issue here is HBO may want to leave some money for the second half of the year.
For HBO, this fight is a luxury.
For Showtime, its a must-get.
The latest episode of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:
Keep hearing that ESPN is having serious thoughts about going to time-buys for its boxing broadcasts…It’s being reported that the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings fight at the Garden sold 5,000 tickets already. That’s strong…Manager Egis Klimas says WBO featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko is slated to appear on the next Pacquiao pay-per-view card, whenever that is…I believe the StubHub Center is the frontrunner to land Provodnikov-Matthysse…UCLA and USC really had big recruiting classes; can’t wait to see this rivalry over the next few years…As for my beloved Miami Hurricanes, yeah, underwhelming finish, to say the least…OK, I’m gonna give “Fresh off the Boat” a try. I hope it’s better than the utterly forgettable “All-American Girl”…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at http://twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at http://instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at www.tsu.co/steveucnlive.