By Keith Idec
HBO has passed on broadcasting Adrien Broner’s next fight and the premium-cable channel’s boxing boss indicated Monday that the network won’t work with Golden Boy Promotions, Broner’s promoter, for the foreseeable future.
The announcement marked the crumbling of a once-powerful alliance between HBO Sports and Golden Boy Promotions, a relationship that was weakened when Showtime hired former Golden Boy attorney Stephen Espinoza to run its sports division in November 2011. Showtime now televises Golden Boy Promotions cards almost exclusively, but Broner and Bernard Hopkins were the only high-profile Golden Boy fighters whose fights were still broadcast by HBO.
Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports, said in a statement: “In order to achieve our goal of the best fighters, in the most compelling matchups, we’ve decided to focus our efforts and resources on those strategic relationships where we better share common goals in business philosophy.”
In other words, HBO intends to work with promoters other than Golden Boy Promotions moving forward, most notably Golden Boy’s promotional nemesis, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.
HBO’s announcement comes less than a month after Floyd Mayweather Jr., HBO’s flagship fighter, signed a six-fight, 30-month deal with Showtime. Mayweather works closely with Golden Boy Promotions, although the company technically is not the promoter of record for boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
Broner (26-0, 22 KOs) is expected to move up two weight classes to challenge WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) in his next bout, possibly June 22 in Malignaggi’s native Brooklyn, N.Y. Malignaggi is employed by Showtime as a color commentator, but HBO’s decision to pass on the Broner-Malignaggi fight ultimately had more to do with the network’s concern over eventually losing Broner to Showtime no matter whom Broner fights next.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.