Boxing Season Is Saturated: Too Much On The Plate?

Okay, either there is too much on the plate or not enough. Remember when you were a kid and had too much and were reprimanded to finish because throwing away the leftovers was a sin?

Your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Boxing, now, seems to compare. Because during a global pandemic, perhaps we have too much on the plate. Every weekend, some during the week, promoters and the networks are making up for lost time.

Yes, if you didn’t know, the business is saturated. This is normally the boxing season and promoters usually get their date and cards before an end to the calendar year.

Though the smaller promotions are struggling, trying to find a way to resume, with fighters under contract, the big boys with more revenue are finding a way to keep the fans hungry for more. And it is difficult, even for the experts to keep track of who is fighting, when, and where.

What network? ESPN, Showtime or Fox? DAZN? Waiting for the major fights that appeal to the boxing fan, and the promoters hoping for major ratings on networks as the entire sports landscape competes for the same in this unprecedented period.

However, we all know, 2020 has been different. Promoters are adhering to medical and government protocols to assure that fighters and personnel are safe and properly tested for COVID-19. And for the most part, there have been very few hitches that would cause a show to be canceled or a fighter pulled off the main card.

Though, closed door venues have changed the complexion of the sport pertaining to revenue for the promoters and fighters. The impact is individual disparity of purses. We are monitoring implications with Canelo Alverez and attempts to restructure a lucrative contract as litigation is ongoing with DAZN and Oscar De La Hoya ( Golden Boy Promotions.)

Overall, though, the sport is healthy and this is evident with your weekend mix of fights on the network. Again, Top Rank(ESPN) and the PBC (Showtime-FOX Sports) are holding their own with average ratings of their telecasts.

And DAZN, with Matchroom, is picking up steam in their quarantine bubble. Matchroom, Friday, announced that DAZN will stream Devin Haney defending his WBC World Lightweight title against Yuriorkis Gamboa on Saturday, Nov. 7 and Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs will meet with Gabriel Rosado on Friday, Nov. 27.

Both cards will be behind closed doors and subject to strict COVID-19 protocols at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida.

Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) is back in action for the first time since November 2019 after injuring his right shoulder in defeating Alfredo Santiago in the first defense of his belt. The 21-year-old sensation is ready to resume his quest to dominate at 135-lbs.

So the Haney card will draw interest. So will Jacobs and Rosado, two fighters that have called out each other. Rosado is in more of a need for the win.

Yes, as I said, this is boxing season. However, two more pay-per-view cards are on the agenda in the span of a month and that could cause havoc. Fans may be hungry, but it may be too much on their plate to dish out and pay a heavy price during a tough and rigorous economic period.

Last Saturday was the first of two Showtime pay-per-view telecasts, highlighting a Charlo Brothers doubleheader at a price of $74.95. Attractive, as the Charlo Brothers prevailed and could be the new faces of boxing. A long night of boxing from the bubble at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and the projected buy rate was 120,000. The early returns indicate the buys were under 250,000.

The saturation of too much and price is one thing. The other, tough economic times and face it, as much as the Charlo twins are a watch, this was not Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr, or Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder that will generate bigger and potential PPV buys when they meet again at some point in late December or next year.

But PPV boxing, during this saturated period, is a vehicle for the promoters to cough up the revenue for fighters that are used to lucrative pay days, and with closed door venues the purses have taken a punch harder than they would take in the ring.

The fighters, seeing less on their table, and a piece of the pay-per-view does assist so their plate is more complete.

And with that, the boxing season continues. You, the fans, if you decide to purchase a streaming network or pay-per-view, are paying the price. But to many the plate is not full without the passion of watching the fights in the comforts of your home.

One high ranking source with a major promotion commented to yours truly, “Would you rather have nothing or more? Fight fans are loyal.”

Yeah they are loyal. Just like baseball fans who got a full plate of postseason games this week, tough all available for free on ESPN networks. Boxing, though, is different. You pay the price to satisfy your appetite and a full plate.

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Photo: Mickey Williams/Top Rank

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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