Photo by Premier Boxing Champions
By Rich Mancuso
Boxing had a television revival with the Premiere Boxing Champion (PBC) management group that was funded by Al Haymon, a known and never seen or heard from manager in the sport. Since March of last year, the PBC was seen on the major television networks and various cable affiliates with a boxing fan base always reviewing the schedule to be reminded where and what time the networks would present PBC Boxing.
Tuesday night, Fox FS1 and Fox DePortes may have been the last PBC telecast of the year and perhaps there will be a long hiatus before another televised PBC event. Was Yordenis Perrella and his fourth round stoppage over the previously undefeated Brian Perrell the last PBC punches thrown in a ring?
There are no PBC dates on the calendar for the remainder of the year. And the various PBC fighters, under contract with Haymon, reportedly are searching for fights with other promoters and have been granted permission to do so.
At hand is an issue of financing. Heyman, a successful businessman with ties to the sport, has reportedly depleted the bank account of $500 million that was assisted from an investment from in Kansas. So for the moment, over 200 fighters under the PBC banner are seeking other options.
The television networks, including NBC, CBS, Fox, Spike, NBCSN, CBSSN, Fox Deportes, ESPN, Bounce TV and others, well they are seeking alternative programming. And with the state of boxing and how networks assist with the production, for the time being it appears that HBO and Showtime will once again be in the driver’s seat to televise fights.
Simply said, the PBC deal was all on barter. The PBC was financing their bank account to pay the fighters and give them exposure on the networks, much different from HBO and Showtime where the promoters are financial partners with the two major cable outlets that televise boxing.
Over 96 telecasts have been presented by the PBC, and for the most part the fighters received the exposure and got paid. Ratings were holding strong when the concept started, and soon it became difficult to keep up the numbers as boxing was on the networks but may have been over exposed with too much of where and when.
A source in the sport with knowledge of the situation said, “Knowing Heyman, this is not done. He always finds a way to get the money.” But at this stage of the game the networks are going ahead with other sports and regular programming, and at a time that is considered to be the boxing season.
“But it was a matter of time,” the source said. “You can only have so much before it is gone.” In essence, the PBC was shelling out and getting nothing back by selling their own time and not purchasing slots for the various network telecasts.
The sponsors were not boarding the ship and PBC telecasts in between rounds became promotional tools that provided exposure to their various fighters on the roster.
So Danny Garcia, the WBC welterweight champion is on hiatus and reportedly HBO is looking to provide some space to stage a defense of his championship. The PBC is also looking at other alternatives to keep their fighters busy and it would be HBO and Showtime that get busy again.
Earlier this year, Top Rank settled out of court with Heyman and the PBC. They dropped an antitrust suit that claimed, PBC was monopolizing the sport based on the Muhammad Ali Boxing Act. Oscar de la hoya and his Golden Boy Promotion, with rights to Canelo Alvarez, continues their battle but sources say with the latest turn of events Golden Boy is looking to turn the corner and end the drama.
Days ago, Bob Arum the longtime promoter and head of Top Rank said, “Boxing is not dead: when asked about the inactivity of a boxing season that is not loaded with major fights on the schedule and the television networks. That may have been a prelude to offset all the buzz about the PBC in hiatus, and Arum with Top Rank was in the stages of borrowing PBC fighters for Top Rank promoted cards.
There was also an understanding, and with the PBC dominating the networks, that Arum and Heyman were beginning to work together. Fighters under contract from Top Rank would in turn be seen on various PBC telecasts.
And with boxing a dead issue in New York, because of a million dollar bond issue that promoters can’t afford, the PBC was not able to stage their four or five time a year boxing cards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn,
Those at Showtime and HBO in their boxing divisions could not be reached for comment and calls to the PBC were not returned. The roster of fighters are feeling the repercussions and a majority are of Latino descent.
Garcia is one of the bigger names and was set to defend his title next month. But that is now on hold as the Garcia team assembles and finds other options. As does Mikey Garcia, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Erislandy Lara, a few that have been kept busy and popular on the PBC roster.
But for now, and for the time being the PBC and this revival of televised boxing appears to be on hiatus and the sport once again looks to regroup.