by David P. Greisman
A request from NBC Sports to increase the time between rounds from 60 seconds to 67 seconds — allowing the network to air more commercials and increase the amount of money its boxing broadcasts can make, while also still showing highlights from previous rounds — will be decided on next week at a July 24 meeting of the Association of Boxing Commissions.
“The ABC will be hearing from [boxing lawyer] Pat English next Tuesday at the meeting and making a decision,” said Tim Lueckenhoff, the ABC’s executive director, speaking to BoxingScene.com via email.
Lueckenhoff said he and some members of the ABC support the request, while others have concerns about such a change.
“I am in favor — anything we can do that is positive and helps promote the sport is good,” Lueckenhoff wrote. “In most instances, especially in MMA, the rest period is 60 seconds, but by the time the cage door is shut and the fight resumes, I would venture to guess it is at about 1:05 or so.”
He believes that any change, were it to be made, would only apply to bouts on live television broadcasts.
“One of the fears that some of our members have [is] if NBC asks for  seconds, ESPN might come back and want 10, etc.,” Lueckenhoff wrote. “They may ask for other changes, so if any changes are made, I think it will be very specific.”
The request to change the time between rounds came from Jonathan Miller of NBC Sports (which airs the “Fight Night” boxing series) and can be found here .
“NBC has a major concern with the rigid timing between rounds set forth by the boxing commissions in each state,” Miller wrote. “We feel strongly this mandate negatively impacts the quality of television production. The ‘Fight Night’ series will simply not survive without advertising support and allowing us to be storytellers.
“We must run two, 30-second commercial units between each round. The inability to come back from a one-minute commercial break without any additional time to show highlight(s) from the previous round and set up the next round is a disservice to the boxing viewer and most importantly the athletes who are giving their all in the ring.”
Miller asked the ABC to add an extra seven seconds to the break between rounds, for a total of 67 seconds.
“This change will make the sport more broadcast-friendly and substantially increase a boxer’s ability to make a living on a platform other than the pay channels of HBO, Showtime & PPV,” Miller wrote. “The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have adapted to this broadcast friendly model and, with their network partners, customized mutually beneficial television timings.
“This timing change will not negatively impact the integrity of competition but only enhance the content in building stars and elevating the great sport of boxing.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org