Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Golovkin-Rubio Helps HBO Fill In Gaps For Fall Schedule

By Jake Donovan

On its own, the news of Gennady Golovkin and Marco Antonio Rubio finalizing terms for an October 18 middleweight showdown is less about a blockbuster fight than it is about the ring activity of one of boxing’s most exciting rising stars.

For cable giant HBO, it also meant a big step towards filling in the blanks for its fall boxing season.

Prior to the news of Bernard Hopkins returning from a two-fight stint with Showtime to “come home” for a November light heavyweight unification clash with Sergey Kovalev, there remained a gaping hole in HBO’s boxing schedule from early August through late November. Kovales was preparing for a title defense versus Blake Caparello, in a fight that proved as uncompetitive in the ring as it was on paper.

The fight – or more specifically the latest showcasing of Kovalev – was the most-viewed of a split-site tripleheader that also included Brandon Rios’ 9th round disqualification win over Diego Chaves and Jessie Vargas’ points win over Anton Novikov in a matchup of unbeaten super lightweights. Kovalev-Caparello was viewed as the least competitive bout of the evening, yet still the most anticipated primarily because of the growing cult status of the unbeaten Russian knockout artist.

Given that, his two-round destruction of Caparello took on an entirely new meaning the moment it was announced that he would next face Hopkins. Fortunately for Kovalev and HBO, that news came 36 hours prior to the fight, making the mismatch a little more forgivable.

Event handlers are still on the hunt for a venue and firm date for the three-belt unification bout, other than the guarantee that the fight will take place in early November. Whenever it lands, it won’t mean an eternity since boxing was last watched on HBO, so long as Golovkin-Rubio definitively happens on October 18.

The two fights also help transition what figures to be an active home stretch for HBO. November 22 is already locked in for a pay-per-view event headlined by international superstar Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight title fight versus unbeaten Chris Algieri, who earned the assignment following his upset – albeit disputed – points win over Ruslan Provodnikov in June.

All signs point towards HBO penciling in November 29 for a Boxing After Dark event headlined by Terence Crawford. The unbeaten lightweight titlist is traveling outside of the country, but upon his return home is expected to sign off for a title defense versus Raymundo Beltran. The veteran contender agreed to terms earlier this week for the planned Thanksgiving weekend event, tentatively slated for Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. 

Two weeks later, recently crowned middleweight king Miguel Cotto is scheduled to headline a December 13 card at Madison Square Garden. The hunt is on for an opponent – rumors have ranged from middleweight contender Andy Lee to former welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley, Jr. For now, the story behind that night is the fact that Cotto – who turns 34 in October – is scheduled to fight twice in 2014, perhaps as big of an upset as his nine-round thrashing of Sergio Martinez to claim the lineal middleweight championship.

In the event that Cotto-Bradley cannot get made, contingency plans call for finding a home for Bradley, who hasn’t fought on regular HBO since his narrow win over Ruslan Provodnikov last March, a fight that was hailed by BoxingScene.com as 2013 Fight of the Year. Four of his past five fights have come on HBO PPV, including his past two ring appearances – a points loss to Pacquiao in their rematch this past April, and a close-but-clear win over Juan Manuel Marquez last October.

Over the course of nine Saturdays in the 4th quarter of the 2014 boxing season, HBO will fill the gaps with some of the biggest names in the sport. Clearly, the network is saving up for a strong finish.

But what are HBO subscribers to do in the meantime?

Questions have arisen as to why HBO failed to secure fight dates for the remaining open weekends between now and mid-October. Finding a home for a fight in September was always problematic. There were never plans in place for HBO to air content on the weekends surround Floyd Mayweather’s ring return, when he meets Marcos Maidana in a September 13 rematch to their thriller this past May.

One week prior, Showtime airs an intriguing doubleheader featuring Adrien Broner – a former titlist in three weight classes and a proven ratings draw on both networks – and rebounding ex-140 lb. titlist Lucas Matthysse in competitive but winnable fights that are designed to hopefully lead to a future head-on collision.

HBO once had September 27 on hold for an originally targeted showdown between Kovalev and lineal light heavyweight king Adonis Stevenson. Those plans were scrapped once Stevenson fled to Showtime, who in turn hoped to have the date filled with a clash between Stevenson and Hopkins. Once it was announced that Hopkins and Kovalev would meet, September 27 seemed to have dropped off altogether from the schedule of both networks.

Neither network currently has live programming scheduled for September 20. Presumably the date will be geared towards Showtime recapping the aforementioned rematch between Mayweather and Maidana. Such coverage doesn’t prevent HBO from counterprogramming, a practice hardly uncommon for either cable powerhouse, though a proven struggle this year, one in which ratings have dipped.

Reasons for the noticeable absence of live boxing action in the remaining open weekends range from undesirable slots (Labor Day weekend, baseball’s World Series coverage) to simply not finding the right fights to showcase. Even if a fight as viewed on paper as a showcase, they’re presented with the idea that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a practice that wasn’t always followed in a 2013 boxing season that was criticized in part as a down year for HBO boxing programming.

So again the question comes up – what’s in it for the average subscriber without live boxing for a 2½ month stretch?

It will be another four weeks before anything boxing-related resurfaces on HBO, but September 16 marks the return of The Fight Game with Jim Lampley. The series has been previously presented on a quarterly basis, but will move to a monthly format for the remainder of the year.

HBO will also offer segments of ‘2 Days’ and ‘Cornered’, along with accompanying content (24/7, Face Off) to properly promote the Pacquiao-Algieri pay-per-view show in Macau.

For the boxing fan who wants live action every weekend, the cupboard may appear bare for HBO over the next few weeks. When taking in the schedule as a whole and knowing what awaits down the road, the pieces in place for the sport as a whole could mean that Gennady Golovkin’s triumphant ring return is here before you know it.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by KevinHenry007 on 08-21-2014

[url]http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/11379862/middleweight-titlist-gennady-golovkin-face-marco-antonio-rubio-oct-18[/url] Why is Dan Rafeal lying? "[B]So while fighters such as middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, super middleweight champion Andre Ward and super middleweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. have been shown little interest in fighting Golovkin[/B], the same can't be…

Comment by Othello on 08-21-2014

[QUOTE=StillWill;14872213]I think GGG is allergic to good fighters[/QUOTE] I think it's the other way around mate

Comment by Mooshashi on 08-20-2014

[QUOTE=deanrw;14872377]Well GGG just got a pay boost from 400K to 750K, and with as often as he fights he probably is not complaining. 750K is all he deserves for now. Quillin just won a lottery ticket of 1.5 million. He…

Comment by Luilun on 08-20-2014

I like GGG but these Berto type defenses are getting old

Comment by hitking on 08-20-2014

[QUOTE=Eastcoast;14873200]Uh think you have it wrong. Margarito had to sue Bob Arum in order to fight Paul Williams. Arum didn't want Margarito fighting Wilams because he was trying to set up the Cotto fight.[/QUOTE] If I'm not mistaken. Williams was…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (54)
Top Headlines Anthony Joshua Sees No Need To Use Chisora-Whyte WWE Tactics Roach: Pacquiao-Crawford Possible, I like Pacquiao-Canelo Better Joselito Velazquez To Face Eduardo Casimero in Pro Debut Abel Sanchez: Ruiz, Parker Will Hit Each Other, Hurt Each Other Will Khalid Yafai Expand the Picture at 115? Jackson: Kovalev Was 5-1 After Six, Was 3-3 With Ward in Last Six Molina Warns Joshua: You Slip Up Once and You Will Be Dancing! Oleksandr Usyk Eyes World Titles Held By Gassiev, Tony Bellew Julian Williams: Being Underrated and Overlooked Ends Saturday Chocolatito's Manager Outlines The Options For 2017 Photos: Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz Weigh-In - Ready For War Photos: Cuellar vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Williams - Final Presser Marco Huck vs. Noel Gevor Eliminator Order By The IBF Briggs Warns Hearn: Keep Joshua Away From Me and He'll Rule! Misha Aloian of Russia Loses Olympic Silver After Failed PED Test Photos: Chavez Jr. and Britsch - Go Face To Face at Final Presser Crawford: Me and Molina Can Box It Out, Bang It Out Or Whatever British Board Admits Decision on Chisora Did Not Come Easy Joseph Parker Signs Up With VADA, Will Be Testing in Ruiz Bout Photos: Crawford vs. Molina - Face To Face at Final Presser Video: Hearn Talks Crazy Week - Shannon Briggs Crashes Interview! Whyte vs. Chisora is STILL ON - But No British Title! Andy Ruiz: Everyone's Underestimating Me, But I'm In Great Shape Jose Pedraza: Gervonta Davis Will Leave Ring With First Career Loss Photos: Anthony Joshua, Eric Molina - Face To Face at Final Presser Lee Haskins Suffers Leg Injury, Out Of Dec 31 IBF Defence Cueller vs. Mares Undercard - Facebook Stream By Showtime Photos: Erik Skoglund, Sven Fornling, Mikaela Lauren on Weight Molina Not Worried About Judging in Crawford's Hometown Stiverne Says Goal is 'Fake Champion' Wilder, Tabs Parker To Win BBBofC To Hold Meeting, Discuss Whyte-Chisora Altercation Roach: Cuellar Said He Was Never Learning Anything At Garcia's Gym Chavez's Trainer: If Julio is Well Prepared - He Beats Golovkin! Frank Warren Gives Thoughts on Billy Joe Saunders' Poor Form Molina Reacts To David Haye's Prediction: He is Nothing in America! Jeff Horn, Lenny Zappavigna Lead Aussie Charge This Weekend Enrico Koelling vs. Ryno Liebenberg Rematch on February 4 Joshua-Molina: Conor Benn To Face Steven Backhouse Amir Khan Hangs Back as Family Dispute Erupts on Social Media UFC's White: 50 Cent Told Me Mayweather Really Wants McGregor
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement