By Steve Kim
The formal announcement went out on Wednesday morning that WBA lightweight titlist Jorge Linares will be facing two-division champion, Vasyl Lomachenko, on May 12th at New York's Madison Square Garden, as the headline bout of a card that will be televised by ESPN.
The deal which was actually finalized last week didn't come without obstacles.
Golden Boy Promotions, which has Linares, originally balked at this date because on that same night on HBO they are part of a broadcast that will re-air the rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez from the prior week - alongside a live event that is headlined by WBO super welterweight belt-holder Sadam Ali making a mandatory defense against Liam Smith.
Eventually, a deal was brokered between everyone involved that sees the ESPN telecast moved up so as to not run up against the HBO card,
All's well that ends well.
"Listen, Eric (Gomez, President of Golden Boy) and I had a conversation as we were going to contract, we're relatively like-minded in our theory. We want to make the boxing wave as big as possible and so we can all have a surfboard on it," said Todd duBoef, the president of Top Rank, to BoxingScene.com.
"We want to make a big wave and that's the most important thing. The category becomes bigger then everybody is going to prosper, the fights are going to become more relevant."
For his part, Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum was delighted with the outcome.
"This demonstrates that promoters and networks, when they work together for the good of everyone, can accomplish so very much,” Arum said.
Last year, Top Rank entered into an exclusive deal with ESPN to televise their cards and to hopefully expose it to a wider audience than what was available on premium cable networks.
"We want to activate the sport to the lexicon of all these great radio hosts and TV hosts, getting everybody to talk about the sport," explained duBoef of his vision.
"I think when you have that commitment to it and not be so silo'd into one night, it allows the sport to be successful."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com