Well, this is interesting…
A few days ago, there was something rather interesting posted on the Reddit message boards regarding the financial health of Premier Boxing Champions, which states that, after an initially being funded with just over $521 million (yes, you read that correctly), they were down to their last $82 million.
You can read the posting here.
This was certainly a topic of conversation around the boxing water cooler over the weekend and, throughout the industry, it went viral. Just how accurate this information is is debatable but it does add to the growing speculation that the PBC, which has failed to gain a real foothold with the masses or attract sponsors, was hemorrhaging money at an alarming pace.
The question you hear often is: How exactly do you burn through that much money so fast?
Well, network time is not cheap and with time-buys at CBS, NBC, FOX and ESPN, among others, that alone will eat up a significant portion of the funding. Then you have the fighters who, for the most part, will thank Al (Haymon) for paying them exorbitantly, time and time again, and then marketing and advertising campaigns on various platforms. You also have a full-time staff to pay.
The PBC flies the friendly skies in class; you gotta give ’em that.
Now, you have ongoing lawsuits with Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Promotions. Battling Bert Fields and David Morroso isn’t cheap either (yeah, discovery should be really interesting).
And there are changes taking place internally with the PBC as it enters its second year of existence. Word is that Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing is out as one of the “sham” promoters. He’s telling anyone and everyone that asks that this is simply untrue but you have to wonder if he’s just playing a game of semantics. The reality is most – if not all – of Warriors Boxing clients have contracts with Haymon, so, in many ways, he’ll still be there with a credential around his neck sitting ringside, getting a piece of the action from his boxers. But let’s see if Warriors Boxing is winning any seven-figure purse bids like they did last year on behalf of the PBC and if they’ll be the promoter of record for fights with boxers who have no association with Warriors Boxing like they did last year.
On Sunday night, another Bounce TV card took place and, in the past, this was something Warriors Boxing would “promote” but, this time, Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions handled things. This raised a few eyebrows in the boxing business.
Then you have the case of Leija Battah, who, not too long ago, had an alliance with Golden Boy to be the local promoter in Texas. Last year, they were wooed by Haymon to do their shows in the “Lone Star State” and had reserved over a dozen dates (most of them for the Tuesday night cards on FS1) for the first half of 2016. Well, don’t look for that to happen as Leija Battah is pulling away from the PBC. Sources say that Haymon attempted to change the terms on what was once a favorable deal for them.
Word is there is a tightening of the belt across the board. One small example: Last week for the card in Los Angeles featuring Danny Garcia-Robert Guerrero at the Staples Center, those who were assigned driver duty throughout the week were not given hotel rooms like they did in the past. One sources says, for the last card they did in Texas, a per diem was not given out to the staffers working the promotion.
As you look at the PBC schedule, it’s rather sparse as there are just two shows on the docket after Sunday night’s card from Florida. Last year, they inundated the various networks with a full roster of fights while they flooded the market. In the foreseeable future, there are no dates scheduled for NBC, ESPN, Spike, FOX and NBC Sports Network. There are rumors circulating that NBC may have not renewed the option for a second go-round with the PBC. In recent months, you’ve seen more and more of the prime PBC product (like Danny Jacobs-Peter Quillin and Deontay Wilder) appear on Showtime, which still pays a license fee.
On March 12, an attractive welterweight fight between WBA titlist Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter takes place from the Mohegan Sun that will be broadcast by CBS. What’s interesting is that this fight is not being branded as a PBC fight but “Showtime Championship Boxing on CBS.” In other words, Showtime paid for this bout, will be paying for the production of the telecast and most likely using its broadcasters. This suggest to many that the PBC is struggling financially and needs a boost and it’s also fueling speculation – which perhaps will be found in the process of discovery – that CBS was an investor in the PBC.
Perhaps this is an ancillary issue but Waddell & Reed, whose war chest is financing this venture, has declined in value every quarter recently. Again, I don’t know if this has any meaning or not. After all, I write about boxing, not for the Wall St. Journal.
Many now speculate that the PBC will die a quick death (or at least that’s what they hope). Nobody really knows except Haymon and he continues to play judge and jury while also collecting a fee from all his clients. Some are calling this a “smash-and-grab”; no matter what happens to the PBC, Haymon walks away richer for it.
This much is known: This has been an costly venture thus far.
Hey, it costs money to create a monopoly.
So what were my thoughts on the HBO card, Saturday night from the Bell Centre in Montreal? Well, the most entertaining and memorable part was the verbal altercation between IBF/WBA/WBO beltholder Sergey Kovalev and WBC titlist Adonis Stevenson, in which Max Kellerman was caught in the crossfire. If you haven’t seen it, here it is…
As for what took place in the main event, here’s what I posted on Facebook (yeah, I’m being a bit lazy here but I don’t want to be redundant):
“OK, maybe I’m in the minority and despite what Kovalev said afterwords, but I think one of the reasons he let Pascal stick around as long as he did is because in their last fight he was caught by overhand right counter shots and this time around Kovalev was aware of that threat and didnt want to make the same mistake again. With that, he took a very measured approach to things behind his jab and also Pascal crouched down very low at times and he couldn’t land that finishing punch.
“Thats just my impression of it. I don’t think it was anywhere near what (Muhammad Ali) Ali did to Ernie Terrell in the ‘Whats my name?’ fight.
“I think the real story is how Pascal was allowed to continue on after the fifth round. I think Freddie Roach did the right thing but a round or two too late. I know it must’ve been a tough decision but Pascal needed to be saved from his own courage.
“BTW, has Roy Jones really been reduced to being the walk-out music for Pascal? Geez, how the mighty have fallen…”
And there you have it.
I think this kid I saw at the LA Fight Club on Friday night, Edgar Valerio, is a very intriguing prospect…How about a match-up between Dmitry Mikhaylenko and Francisco “Chia” Santana?…Seriously, Stevenson and his side are demanding that a fight with Kovalev be a split pay-per-view between Showtime (a network for which he hasn’t fought in over a year) and HBO? Let’s be honest, many believe this should be a pay-per-view, period…So when will the Andre Ward-Sullivan Barrera fight be officially announced?…So is Calvin Johnson really retiring? First Barry Sanders and now this for the Lions…Is anyone stopping the Golden State Warriors except for boredom and complacency?…So when do pitchers and catchers report?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.