PBC flaming out during HBO absence


FireWhen the end of summer and early fall boxing schedule was released, it seemed like HBO was doing what it usually does; going dark in the end of summer. Aside from some HBO Latino cards, there is nothing slated until October on the HBO schedule. On the schedule is a doubleheader on October 3rd between Lucas Matthysse and Victor Postol paired with Antonio Orozco facing Humberto Soto, then there is a heavyweight showdown between Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury in the afternoon on October 24th possibly paired with a Terence Crawford-Dierry Jean fight in the evening. In between is the pay-per-view card headlined by Gennady Golovkin as he enters the ring versus David Lemieux.

Solid schedule, but there will be no boxing on the channel since the July 25th card that featured Sergey Kovalev. Granted, summer is a slow month for ratings, but with PBC coming into the fold, you would think the main competition for PBC would be more active.

But maybe HBO did the right thing as the PBC schedule has flamed out and has failed to capitalize in the dark months of HBO.

This weekend features a decent bout between Steve Cunningham and Antonio Tarver on Spike TV, but not anything to ride home about between an older fighter in Tarver and a blown up cruiserweight in Cunningham. Americans will get to see Marco Huck but against an unknown name.

The week after, Canadian star Lucian Bute is in against someone we’ve never heard of either on NBC Sports Network.

The most compelling bout on the PBC schedule will be on August 29th when Abner Mares takes on Leo Santa Cruz. Though the fight may have come a year or so later than expected, it is still compelling on paper. The only issue is the start time. ESPN will go live at 10 PM, which makes it very difficult when it comes to attracting the east coast viewers.

September 6th will feature a double header on CBS in the afternoon will feature Andre Dirrell facing a faded journeyman in Marco Antonio Rubio, which is not main event worthy. The co-feature is a rematch of a fun fight between Jamie McDonnell and Tomoki Kameda, probably the second best fight on the schedule.

On September 8th, the inaugural PBC on Fox Sports 1, Austin Trout returns against Joey Hernandez. Granted it may be better than what Golden Boy was putting on the network, but not by much.

September 11th, Adonis Stevenson returns against Tommy Karpency on SPIKE TV. Yes, it’s on the level of Sergey Kovalev’s last fight, but crap is still crap even if it’s free. The undercard does feature Errol Spence versus Chris Van Heerden, probably the third most compelling fight on the schedule for PBC.

September 12th, before the gross mismatch on Showtime pay-per-view between Floyd Mayweather and Andre Berto, Peter Quillin returns against unknown Michael Zerafa on NBC in the afternoon. Yikes! The co-feature is a very unlikely good clash of styles between Jermall Charlo and Cornelius Bundrage.

With ratings not being up to par and money being lost according to many insiders by Waddell & Reed, the hedge fund invested in PBC, this trend of fights is appalling to say the least. With boxing fans not having anywhere to go in August and September for fights in the states, PBC had the opportunity to make headway in maybe putting a dent in its main competition in the U.S. It failed.

I see three compelling fights and the rest typical Al Haymon mismatches. Can we get a good fight here and there? Yes. But that certainly speaks to the fighter fighting down to his competition in my opinion or it could be complacency with being matched soft. Hopefully, this isn’t the trend moving forward because networks aren’t going to come and pay if no one is watching, and if no one is watching, it’s because the matchups aren’t compelling.