by David P. Greisman
Tonight’s “Boxing After Dark” broadcast on HBO is the final date that had been owed to promoter Gary Shaw because of a planned HBO2 series that was canceled before it ever premiered.
“The series, which was to air monthly on HBO2, would have divided 12 dates between at least three promoters — Golden Boy Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and Gary Shaw Promotions — with the network paying $150,000 per show,” wrote Bill King of Sports Business Journal back in January 2012. “Designed to showcase up-and-coming talent, it was approved by former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg in March . But after Greenburg departed in July , HBO President of Programming Michael Lombardo told the promoters that the network was not going forward on the series.”
Shaw and DiBella told the news outlet that they had “signed fighters with the understanding that there would be TV slots for them, and that they believed HBO was obligated to make good on its promise, whether it was through the HBO2 series or something else.”
Earlier this week, Jimmy Tobin wrote on boxing blog The Cruelest Sport that “Geale-Barker is on HBO because the network owed Gary Shaw, Geale’s international promoter, a television date.”
Shaw confirmed this, speaking Friday with BoxingScene’s David P. Greisman and Tim Starks of Queensberry-Rules.com.
“I had presented a series to them that they had bought,” he said. This was the last date stemming from that, “but hopefully between Romero and Geale I'll have two big wins,” he said. Junior featherweight Jhonathon Romero is defending his title belt against Kiko Martinez in the broadcast’s co-feature.
As for the main event:
“Daniel Geale wanted Barker because he believed that Barker is the best in all of England,” Shaw said. “I give him credit for that because it’s a voluntary [defense]. He didn't have to fight Barker. I think the people in the United States will get to see who Daniel Geale is. Right now his name comes out now and then for Sergio Martinez or Gennady Golovkin. Now they'll get to see. I believe in see feel and taste. If you get to see feel and taste, you get to know.”
But first, the winner of Geale-Barker would have to defend the International Boxing Federation belt against mandatory challenger Felix Sturm or else be stripped of the title.
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 [email protected]