By Keith Idec
Saturday night was supposed to mark the end of HBO’s unofficial, five-week summer hiatus from televising live boxing.
Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin was scheduled to make his long-awaited American premium cable debut in a meaningful middleweight championship unification fight against Russia’s Dmitriy Pirog. That tantalizing showdown was scrapped in early July because Pirog suffered a back injury.
Polish southpaw Grzegorz Proksa (28-1, 21 KOs) replaced Pirog (20-0, 15 KOs) as the opponent for the hard-hitting Golovkin (23-0, 20 KOs) and their 12-round fight for Golovkin’s WBA middleweight title was shifted to Sept. 1 in Verona, N.Y. HBO will instead offer a different type of tripleheader late Saturday night.
It’ll begin at midnight EDT with the first episode of “24/7 Road To Ward-Dawson,” a half-hour documentary-style preview to promote the super middleweight title bout between WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC) and undisputed 168-pound champ Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) on Sept. 8 in Oakland, Calif.
The Ward-Dawson special will be followed immediately by “2 Days: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.,” a 15-minute, behind-the-scenes look into the life and career of the son of Mexico’s most celebrated boxer. The 26-year-old Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KOs) is just three weeks away from the biggest fight of his nine-year pro career, a 12-round WBC middleweight title fight against Argentina’s Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs), who is 37 yet approximately a 2-1 favorite to win Sept. 15 in their HBO Pay-Per-View main event at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Another 15-minute preview of Martinez versus Chavez, “Faceoff with Max Kellerman,” will premiere at 12:45 a.m. EDT., right after “2 Days: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.