On the night of Jan. 17 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, “Showtime Championship Boxing” makes it’s 2015 debut when it presents the WBC heavyweight tilt between Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder as part of a tripleheader.
And after that?
The network will have some “ShoBox” telecasts lined up (this Friday night and Feb. 20) but its main franchise doesn’t have another broadcast scheduled afterward. The assumption is Showtime Championship Boxing will eventually return later this year; meanwhile, HBO has boxing broadcasts lined up for Jan. 24 (Mike Alvarado-Brandon Rios III), Feb. 21(Gennady Golovkin-Martin Murray), March 14 (Sergey Kovalev-Jean Pascal) and April 25 (Wladmir Klitschko). You figure another show in the first quarter/third of 2015 featuring Terence Crawford among others will be put on the docket fairly soon.
(Efforts by UCNLive.com to reach Stephen Espinoza, the executive VP/GM of Showtime Sports and Event Programming were unsuccessful).
HBO looks to be off to a very strong start to 2015 (at least on paper) with some very solid match-ups. Coming off a much-maligned 2014, Showtime is hoping to rebound with a year that is much more like its 2013 campaign. How it works in this business is major fights (whether they are on premium cable outlets like HBO, Showtime or pay-per-view) are set up usually three or four months in advance. It’s why HBO already has fight broadcasts lined up till the end of April. Of course, Showtime’s upcoming card on the 17th was announced just a month before the event, unusually late by today’s standards.
So what gives? Why is Showtime’s schedule so sparse at the moment?
Well, perhaps there are several factors in play here, all of which could be intertwined.
Over the past few years, Al Haymon’s ever-growing clientele has appeared almost exclusively on Showtime’s airwaves as Golden Boy Promotions was excommunicated by HBO in 2013. Whether under the auspices of Golden Boy or another promoter, boxers advised by Haymon have become a constant presence on the network. It’s not unusual to see whole cards in which Haymon controls every A-side – and sometimes even the opponent.
Well, right now, Golden Boy – which made amends with HBO to end 2014 – still has ties to many of these Haymon fighters. The question moving forward is: Just how much of a claim does GBP have with these boxers? Part of the conflict that existed between Oscar De La Hoya and the former CEO of his company, Richard Schaefer, is that many of these boxers who appeared on these Showtime cards (that were promoted by Golden Boy) may have been allowed to let their promotional pacts expire. In effect, they became free agents whose value was raised because of the exposure from Golden Boy cards. It’s said to be one of the big issues that cropped up between the “Golden Boy” and the Swiss banker, whom are now involved in a lawsuit.
While Golden Boy is now freely doing promotions that are televised by HBO, they are with working with fighters not associated with Haymon. The only problem is the bulk of their high-profile boxers – save for perhaps Saul Alvarez and Bernard Hopkins – are with Haymon.
And speaking of which, it’s been asked before: Excluding the show on Jan. 17 (which also includes Leo Santa Cruz), does anyone know when boxers represented by Haymon (such as Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, Lamont Peterson, Peter Quillin, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana, Keith Thurman, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, Robert Guerrero and Omar Figueroa Jr.) are scheduled to fight again?
You keep hearing over and over again from sources close to those fighters that they have been told to be ready in March or April (we can assume it’s March or April of 2015). Many of this stable have hinted on social media of a banner year to come.
Speaking of which, it looks like Haymon’s much-talked about and anticipated deal with NBC will begin in March as an ad (which didn’t give out all that many details) was shown on Saturday night during the AFC Wild Card game. The questions abound regarding this series: What will the quality of the fights be on this platform? Which boxers will be featured and just how much money will be spent?
But at least NBC’s foray into boxing, post-Main Events, will continue in March. That much we know.
Now, when does Showtime resume after Jan. 17?
In another Haymon-DiBella special, it looks like IBF middleweight titlist Jermain Taylor will make his first defense against Sergio Mora, Feb. 6 on ESPN2…This Friday night will marks boxing’s unofficial kickoff in the States for 2015 with cards broadcast on ESPN2, Showtime (ShoBox) and FoxSports1…”The Next Round” will return next Monday…It’s clear that the Ohio State Buckeyes have more quarterback depth than the Arizona Cardinals…Does the Andy Dalton era need to come to a close in Cincy?…I’m actually interested in seeing “Empire” on FOX…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.