A few days
ago I was tweeting (which I do quite a bit) on the recent situation regarding
Erislandy Lara's calling out of Gennady Golovkin. It's certainly a solid
match-up. Lara is one of the sports premiere 154-pounders and Golovkin has
developed a reputation as one of the most feared fighters in the game as the
WBA middleweight titlist. In a perfect world, this fight would occur but we all
know we currently live in the “Cold War” era of boxing. Because of Lara's
association with Golden Boy Promotions (and furthermore, Showtime) and
Golovkin's relationship with HBO, this fight is simply a non-starter.
and more fights nowadays aren't so much consummated because they are the best
match-ups that can be had but really, the best that can be facilitated within
the framework of this fractured business. Depending on whether you’re aligned
with Golden Boy/Showtime or HBO (which is more spread out among the likes of
Top Rank Promotions, K2 and Main Events among others getting dates), this will
determine which pool of bouts you are really eligible for.
facing WBO beltholder Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin seems like a natural fight
but with Quillin being promoted by Golden Boy, it's nothing more than a fight
of fantasy. “GGG” looks destined to face Andy Lee on April 26th.
Meanwhile, Lara will most likely be relegated to facing other fighters under
his same promotional banner (such as Austin Trout and Alfredo Angulo).
said, Matt Swider, a semi-frequent contributor to “The Soapbox,” chimed in with
his solution - from a network perspective - on how to thaw the “Cold War” and
at least bring some detente between the two super-powers, Top Rank and Golden
There's so little innovation
in boxing television but...
I see Steve tweets about the
“Cold War.” Ray and I were talking on the phone last month of all the
great match-ups at 140-147 that could be made.
The only solution to the
problem? Guaranteed money.
In a real world, Top Rank/Golden
Boy would have to design something similar to the RFPs (request for proposal)
you see for, say, “Thursday Night Football.” In boxing, since they work
backwards, HBO (or SHO or ESPN or whoever), needs to bid or create the right
offer on the following content (or something similar) and assign a financial
Three-year deal, 12 shows
(all doubleheaders, so 24 fights).
One show a quarter.
Golden Boy vs. Top Rank in
both fights on each show.
Exclusivity in the match-ups
between the companies.
Have a proposed “A” list of
which both promoters and network approves.
Have a flexible “B” list,
which is all fighters under each promotional umbrella are considered but must
be approved by all parties as they develop during the deal.
An exclusive six-month window to negotiate an extension of the current deal.
Let’s say the offer
commenced and it was worth $4 million a show ($2 million to each side) for a
total of $48 million over three years ($8 million to each company per year
split right down the middle).
Two examples of types of shows this is
designed to produce:
Main Event: Abner Mares (Golden Boy) vs.
Nonito Donaire (Top Rank)
Co-Feature: Andy Ruiz (Top Rank)
vs. Deontay Wilder (Golden Boy)
Main Event: Timothy Bradley (Top Rank) vs.
Danny Garcia (Golden Boy)
Co-Feature: Leo Santa Cruz
(Golden Boy) vs. Evgeny Gradovich (Top Rank)
All fights makeable and right within
(and frankly exceeding) the current financial landscape.
This deal would not tie a fighter/promoter exclusively to a network i.e. if,
say, Danny Garcia (Golden Boy) fights Tim Bradley (Top Rank), which is the type
of “A” fights you are creating in this RFP, each fighter can fight whoever and
for however on any other network next with the exception of the next possible “crossover”
opponent. Golden Boy vs. Top Rank fights are only exclusive to this
network. Not each company, not each fighter.
The TV network ensures 12 primo cards, once a quarter to satisfy its subscriber
as well as possibly attract new ones. Surely a fighter can ascend to a
pay-per-view level and certain match-ups fall by the wayside as a result
(though I’m sure language could and would be created to ensure Top Rank vs. Golden
Boy PPV exclusivity as well) but this ensures GREAT, exclusive content. It
can’t solve all that ails the sport.
It works the promoter/fighter because
while a certain exclusivity exists, the winners and star-makers can use it to
springboard past the current duopoly setup with obvious leverage. As well, the
next contract (or extension) could greatly inflate with early success.
Guaranteed money is the
solution. How many shows have a TV license fee of $4 million? Very few if
any. This type of deal allows these two companies to hit their high
minimums to certain fighters in many cases. And this deal provides a structure
for these companies to work together to further enhance their returns with live
gate, sponsors, etc.
Guarantee the money and the “Cold
War” ends. The aforementioned is a rough sketch of how it should look and
what the people in charge should be outlining. That’s, of course, if they
want change and progression, which frankly hasn't been a priority for over 30
years in boxing.
It’s not good for the outside promotional
companies, no doubt. But they frankly haven't done a good enough job in
the current structure. And as a rights holder, their well-being shouldn't be
considered, only the consumers and subscribers.
Matt, as always thanks for the submission. I'm not sure how the Kathy Duvas,
Lou DiBellas, Dan Goossens, Artie Pelullos and Gary Shaws of the world feel
about your last paragraph but if you promote the likes of Sergey Kovalev,
Sergio Martinez and Andre Ward, I'm sure they will find a place on the network
for them. At the end of the day, it's about having the best and most marketable
talent on your airwaves. K2 has proven this with Golovkin (who made three appearances
on HBO last year and will probably make the same amount in 2014).
That said, I love your proposal but right now, you have two promotional outfits
that are finding safe and lucrative harbor (for now) at Showtime and HBO (who
are anything but agnostic). But while that's good for them and their bottom
lines, it's not necessarily great for the fans, who quite frankly don't care
about the personal animus between the two companies or the politics involved.
Although, I will say the fans of today are probably more well-versed on the
dynamics that determine what eventually takes place inside the ring. However,
it doesn't make what they are served up at times any more palatable.
I said this last year; while 2013 was a very strong year for the sport of
boxing in which you got good fights, some great action and solid TV ratings at
both premium cable giants, it was much too soon to declare anyone a winner in this
stand-off or to state it was actually good for boxing since it created
competition. That old saying that a rising tide lifts all vessels seemed to
become reality last year but already you are seeing that this division is proving
to be problematic. Case in point is Ruslan Provodnikov, who defeated Mike
Alvarado last year in a thriller and now has a one-fight option with Top Rank (which
means his next outing will be televised on HBO). And right now, it hasn't been
easy to find a suitable dance partner for him with some of the marquee names
under the Top Rank banner going in different directions.
On the other side of the street at Golden Boy/Showtime, you have the likes of
Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson, who simply cannot be in the
mix at this current moment. Provodnikov will be back on the HBO airwaves
sometime this spring but unless he's facing Brandon Rios, it will be a far cry
from any of these match-ups.
So is this real competition or merely separation?
But that's the world we live in right now. The reality is networks and
promotional divisions are hampering more potential fights than the sanctioning
Here's the latest episode of “The Next Round” hosted by Gabe Montoya and Yours
Truly with special guest Larry Merchant:
The IBF announced on Wednesday that an agreement was reached between Carl Froch
and George Groves (http://www.boxingscene.com/froch-groves-ii-agreement-reached-confirms-ibf-prez--74593)...I
get the sense that despite his pleas, Demetrius Andrade will not get Floyd
Mayweather anytime soon...It says a lot about the Yankees history that a guy
like Derek Jeter may not be on their Mount Rushmore...Judging by his Twitter
feed, Richie is no longer Incognito; he's come out firing at Jonathan Martin…
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