Yahoo’s Kevin Iole broke the news
HBO, the highest-rated boxing network, made the extraordinary decision Monday not to buy fights from Golden Boy Promotions, one of the sport’s two biggest promoters, for the foreseeable future.
HBO Sports president Ken Hershman, who formerly ran the boxing program at rival Showtime, made the decision to part ways with Golden Boy after running into issues with company executives. Showtime hired Stephen Espinoza, the former Golden Boy legal counsel, to run its boxing program after Hershman left for HBO.
Since Espinoza joined Showtime, the vast majority of its televised boxing offerings have come from Golden Boy.
“In order to achieve our goal of the best fighters in the most compelling match-ups, we’ve decided to focus our efforts and resources on those strategic relationships where we better share common goals and business philosophies,” Hershman said in a statement.
On a different forum I wondered whether something like this was in the works when Mayweather left HBO for Showtime, but I assumed that it would be Golden Boy making the move as opposed to being forced off HBO.
The main issue here is that it puts yet another barrier in the way of interesting bouts. Now not only do we have to deal with the Golden Boy/Top Rank cold war but in addition a HBO/Showtime cold war. Top Rank appear to be the immediate beneficiary but those who benefit most are likely to be the slightly smaller promoters who have been squeezed through a lack of TV dates… the likes of Shaw, Duva and DiBella. Over recent years they have seen their talent stolen away as Top Rank and Golden Boy had a near monopoly on HBO and Showtime dates. With HBO now looking to fill slots they may well be more likely to look to those promoters.
In the short term it hurts both HBO and Golden Boy. HBO loses the likes of Broner and any other Golden Boy fighter. Golden Boy in turn is on Showtime, a network with fewer viewers. Whether either of them can come out of this stronger is still to be seen.