HBO Going Out with a Bang? Canelo, Golovkin Contracts End After PPV Clash

By Paul Magno on September 13, 2018
HBO Going Out with a Bang? Canelo, Golovkin Contracts End After PPV Clash
If HBO Boxing isn’t in hospice care at the moment, it’s very close to being sent there.

Saturday’s pay-per-view clash will mark the end of both Alvarez’s and Golovkin’s contracts with HBO and may be the last hurrah for HBO Boxing…

While Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are readying themselves for war and fans are discussing the nuts and bolts of the matchup, itself, there’s plenty of intrigue beyond the field of battle.

This Saturday’s pay-per-view clash, which will mark the end of both Alvarez’s and Golovkin’s contracts with HBO, may be the last hurrah for HBO Boxing.

To say that these haven’t been good times for HBO Boxing would be an understatement. While subscriptions are up for HBO as a whole, fewer of those subscribers give a damn about what used to be the network’s principle original content—boxing. As recently as the late 90’s, one of every five or six subscribers to HBO was watching boxing. Now, just one of fifty subscribers is watching. Not too long ago, even nothing fights could deliver 3 million viewers. Current ratings fall in the 600K-700K range for most main events with anything even remotely close to one million considered a raging success and cause for papering the media with self-congratulatory press releases.

If HBO Boxing isn’t in hospice care at the moment, it’s very close to being sent there. The current bossmen at the very top seem ambivalent about changing the course of the network’s boxing division. Hapless Peter Nelson, Executive VP of Sports Programming, took the deflated ball handed to him by his predecessor, the similarly hapless Ken Hershman, and managed to make things even worse—continuing the Hershman legacy of chasing away top talent and embracing dubious matchmaking.

The respective teams of both Canelo and “Triple G” aren’t exactly hiding the fact, either, that they are exploring their post-Saturday options.

Alvarez promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, has openly questioned HBO’s dedication to boxing before flat-out stating his intent to test the waters of boxing free agency for his fighter.

“It makes me wonder if HBO even wants to be in boxing,” De La Hoya told the Los Angeles Times. “Given the circumstances that boxing is in line at this moment, with ESPN, DAZN and the fact that Fox television has paid millions and Showtime’s doing many things, it’s going to be very interesting for us and Canelo to see what HBO can do to keep him.”

De La Hoya claims to have loyalty to his longtime network of choice, but, of course, business is business.

“HBO’s been my family since I started boxing and it has been my family up until today,” De La Hoya said. “I’ve always given HBO the first and last opportunity, but this is a business and I must do what’s best for my fighters. I want to do what’s best for Canelo’s career, and right now particularly, boxing is big business on television, with more than 200 fights on a year.

“I’m going to carefully analyze everything and right after the final bell Saturday, I’m moving forward with this decision to explore what’s in Canelo’s best interest.

Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler is being coy and more tactful than De La Hoya, but the message is the same.

“If Gennady wins [Saturday], he has a lot of options,” Loeffler said.

The fact that neither star fighter has been re-signed well prior to this fight may speak volumes as to what could be in HBO’s corporate mind.

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  1. David 03:33pm, 09/17/2018

    GGG threw less than a handful of body shots and let Canelo take the lead. If Golovkin had thrown a lot more punches to the body, the out come would have been in his favor and Alvarez gets knocked out. Boxing sometimes can be so phony and corrupt. If Alvarez fights in the middleweight division, they’ll massacre him.

  2. Larry 08:09pm, 09/15/2018

    I am now done with boxing because of the score at the GGG/Canelo fight. Boxing is fixed and fuck them all. I hope someday boxing becomes an honest sport but it is not now!

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