HBO Boxing, the crew led by Ken Hershman, Kery Davis and Mark Taffett, decided that HBO would not be, in the near future, buying fights from Golden Boy Promotions.
“In order to achieve our goal of the best fighters in the most compelling matchups we've decided to focus our efforts and resources on those strategic relationships where we better share common goals and business philosophies,” said Hershman, president of HBO sports.
A source at HBO told me that the two parties on not on the same page strategically. It has been simmering for a year or so, I'm led to believe, with HBO not being pleased at seeing talent they've nurtured then being brought across the street to be showcased. And so if Golden Boy, after a spell, said we'd like to have HBO be available as a platform for our boxers, called HBO, would HBO take the call. Yes, the source said, but he didn't seem optimistic that such a call would be forthcoming in the near future. This being boxing, of course, with strange bedfollows popping up in cahoots not so long after declaring war on each other, we'd say nothing is cemented in stone. “But this will clarify the business place,” the source said.
The timing could have been worse for HBO; their Saturday showing of the Top Rank Tim Bradley-Ruslan Provodnokiv bout, which wasn't overly buzzed over coming in, was well received. The two men fought a Fight of the Year type tussle, which had fight fans yapping still on Monday.
The two Godzillas of promotion, Top Rank and Golden Boy, are at odds and have been for seemingly forever. This seemingly cements that “cold war” and means that clear choices have been made; Showtime is the “Golden Boy network” and HBO is the “Top Rank network.” It looks like the March 9 fight promoted by Golden Boy, which pitted Bernard Hopkins vs. Tavoris Cloud, will be the last time you will see a Golden Boy fighter on that platform. Adrien Broner was slated to meet Paul Malignaggi, a Golden Boy fighter, on June 22. Broner has been an HBO mainstay, but is in the midst of a contract negotiation with them; it looks like he will now be forced to have the choice made for him, and will be part of the Showtime stable.
HBO is now left with top dogs Andre Ward (promoted by Dan Goossen, seen in above Hogan photo, from Aug. 2011 with then Showtime boss Ken Hershman and foe Carl Froch), Nonito Donaire (with Arum), Sergio Martinez (with Lou DiBella), Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez (Arum), Gennady Golovkin (Klitschko) and Brandon Rios (Arum). Showtime has Golden Boy fighters Floyd Mayweather (though he has a contract which allows him to exercise an “out” option after every bout), Canelo Alvarez, seemingly Broner, Bernard Hopkins and Amir Khan, plus others.
I'm gathering that some at HBO are interested to see if Showtime can juggle the talent and accomodate it, with Broner, and Hopkins and Andre Berto and the rest of the boxers now involved in a marriage, instead of being allowed to date freely.
Some Twitter reaction:
@Boxing_101 said: Forces TR & other promoters to step up w/best match-ups possible; wider pool of fighters from which new star can be found.
?@JimJoyz said: “It was bad enough not having promoters working together but now having networks not working with promoters hurts the sport worse.”
?@Boxing: “It puts more work on Showtime to be able to support these fights that GB has planned.”
?@alrodriguez99: “It pretty much means that the two major promotors won't be working together anytime soon. #ColdWar #Boxing
@ThePoetG: “Good ole supply and demand. It brings the market purchase price of fights down.”
I put in a call to Richard Schaefer at Golden Boy and with Stephen Espinoza at Showtime. Schaefer was in a meeting, and Espinoza, through a spokeman, declined to comment.