By Jake Donovan
A planned HBO-televised doubleheader for April 26 at Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York City is now officially off the table, the network announced Wednesday afternoon.
The date was originally reserved for unbeaten middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, who was set to make the 11 th defense of his alphabet title. The opponent was never firmed up, although Ireland’s Andy Lee emerged as the frontrunner
However, the untimely passing of Golovkin’s father forced the knockout artist to withdraw from the card.
Golovkin’s promoter, K2 Promotions had a hold on the venue and for the HBO date, but “with Golovkin unavailable, HBO is moving off the (April 26) date,” the network announced in a general statement through its Public Relations department. “We will move on to our other boxing programming initiatives for the spring and early summer.”
The loss of the date leaves a gaping hole in HBO’s schedule. The network returns to the boxing foray on March 29, with undefeated knockout artist Sergey Kovalev headlining in a light heavyweight title fight versus unbeaten Cedric Agnew.
Fans will have to savor the flavor for another two months. HBO currently doesn’t have another live show on its boxing schedule until May 31, when the network travels to jolly old England for the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves.
Two dates are still being discussed, however, which would help fill the gap and also give the network a strong push into the summer. May 17 has been set aside in hopes of finalizing terms for a proposed bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado.
HBO is also in discussion with handlers for the May 24 showdown between lineal light heavyweight king Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara, a bout that is signed but currently unattached to an American network.
Featured in between the gaps will be a wide array of original programming dedicated towards pre-fight coverage for the April 12 rematch between unbeaten Timothy Bradley and worldwide boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao. The bout itself will headline on HBO PPV.
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