Welcome to the ‘TV Greed Age of Boxing’. An era where the fighters get paid handsomely but the fans miss out on the best bouts.
For years, boxers have been underpaid for their life-threatening work. Now TV networks are realizing their worth.
But it comes at a price. That price is that the fans pay, even if it’s not in physical cash.
Streaming services like DAZN promise to bring the cost of the average punter down, although long-term they’ll be paying to watch lesser-profile contests.
Whilst it will be awesome to see the likes of Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua competing regularly, the very top-notch encounters will pass the paying public by.
Wilder on Showtime, Fury on ESPN and DAZN holding Joshua is all good and well for the fighters. But the fans will never get the fights they want.
An era when super-fights like Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao get made under two TV channels is long gone and likely never to return.
TV bosses are protecting not only themselves but their prized assets. Pitching a champion in with an undefeated record against another big name contender, for all intents and purposes will be no more.
Fans should brace themselves for a host of pound for pound fighters battling also-ran opponents until the madness finally ends.
Speaking at the announcement of Wilder’s latest fight, Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza outlined his pride at retaining the heavyweight puncher over moves by ESPN and DAZN.
“We are thrilled to be bringing you Deontay Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale on SHOWTIME,” said Espinoza despite missing out on fights with Fury and Joshua.
“It would be an understatement to say that there has been a lot of speculation regarding Deontay’s future. We’re proud to have him on SHOWTIME.
“It was critical for Deontay, for the sport and his fans, that this fight be available not on pay-per-view, but on SHOWTIME.
“Because of his insistence, that’s the primary reason we’re standing here today.
“SHOWTIME is where this fight belongs. We’re the home of the biggest fights and best talents, month in and month out.
“This is where a heavyweight title fight belongs. This will be Deontay’s 12th appearance on SHOWTIME and or SHOWTIME PPV and we’ve built something special.”
It’s clear that boxing is set to miss out of a host of brilliant fights. TV fat cats will continue to line their pockets as fans scream out for doomed super-fights.
Here’s just a taste of what we may never see:
Vasyl Lomachenko (ESPN) v Gervonta Davis (FOX/Showtime)
Vasyl Lomachenko (ESPN) v Mikey Garcia (FOX/Showtime)
Canelo (DAZN) v Jermall Charlo (FOX/Showtime)
Gennady Golovkin (DAZN) v Jermall Charlo (FOX/Showtime)
Oleksander Usyk (DAZN) v Deontay Wilder (Showtime)
Manny Pacquiao (Showtime) v Terence Crawford (ESPN)
Tyson Fury (ESPN) v Anthony Joshua (DAZN)
Tyson Fury (ESPN) v Deontay Wilder II (Showtime)
Deontay Wilder (Showtime) v Anthony Joshua (DAZN)