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Three is not a Crowd

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Before David Haye suffered a cut in sparring that nixed his bout against Tyson Fury, HBO was scheduled to telecast a tripleheader (from three different sites, no less) this upcoming weekend. The light heavyweight championship bout between Adonis Stevenson and Tavoris Cloud from the Bell Centre in Montreal and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s return versus Brian Vera from the StubHub Center in Carson, California were scheduled to accommodate the now-canceled heavyweight bout from Britain.
 
It was to have started a run of three-bout broadcasts on HBO as the network begins a busy stretch of boxing (from September 28 to the end of November, they have nine cards - two of which are pay-per-view - in a 10-week span).

And it says here it shouldn’t be just a trend but the norm moving forward.
 
Yes, imagine that; more boxing for our cable bill is something I’m calling for.
 
Just think about it; how many times have we been frustrated by telecasts featuring only one fight (most of which have been on HBO in recent years). It’s like going to a restaurant and only getting the main entree. And if that lone bout is a dud, well, that just seems like a bit of a waste; doesn’t it? It leaves you unfulfilled.  When I go out to eat, I want the salad or soup, an appetizer, the main course and then maybe dessert (I’m trying to watch my figure, after all).
 
And as a fan, while I have high standards for the featured attraction on HBO, Showtime or pay-per-view, as it relates to what rounds out the broadcast, I lower the bar a bit for the semi-main. Now, as for what rounds out a tripleheader, honestly, all I usually ask for is to show me a bright young up-and-comer or an anticipated fight from overseas that otherwise wouldn’t be shown out here in the States.
 
Hey, I’m a realist. I understand that in a three-fight broadcast, not every fight is a going to be a four-star match-up. The bottom line is when you have network budgets to adhere to, that’s simply not feasible. In the case of most broadcasts at the premium cable level, the majority of money is spent on the main event. Now, can boxing broadcasts featuring more than two fights become tedious and an exercise in overkill?
 
Absolutely. Case in point was last year’s bold experiment by Showtime (which, to its credit, has given the hardest of the hardcore fans an option to watch selected undercard bouts on its Extreme channel) that featured a quadruple-header from Carson that seemed to linger on like a Jerry Lewis telethon. The problem on that night was every single fight went the distance and by the time Antonio Tarver and Lateef Kayode had finished flailing away at each other over 12 rounds, you had viewer fatigue. This was absolutely a case of diminishing returns. But on the flipside, the extra slots on that show introduced us to Leo Santa Cruz, who has become a fan favorite. So yes, there has to be a balance between quantity and quality. Matchmaking is still paramount. Sometimes more can be less if you don’t have the right fights or fighters.
 
On August 17th, HBO broadcasted a tripleheader featuring Sergey Kovalev’s butchering of Nathan Cleverly from the U.K. and then two fights from Atlantic City, where Kiko Martinez stopped Jhonatan Romero for the IBF 122-pound belt and Darren Barker gained an entertaining back-and-forth victory for the IBF middleweight title against Daniel Geale. It was a fun night of fights and you felt like you had your proper fill of boxing by the time the night was over. It wasn’t too short and it didn’t drag on too long either and we got some memorable moments out of it.
 
On October 26th, Showtime was originally going to have a card featuring Bernard Hopkins defending his IBF light heavyweight belt against Karo Murat and WBO middleweight titlist Peter Quillin facing Gabe Rosado. It was announced late last week that they were adding heavyweight Deontay Wilder to this telecast. Now, Hopkins-Murat is probably the least anticipated fight on the upcoming Showtime calendar. Let’s be honest; it’s pretty hard to plan your night around this match-up. But depending on who Wilder is paired with (hopefully a live body who can punch a bit), this card could be a lot more intriguing than before.
 
Again, just give me a prospect or a foreign fight saving me from a hazy and unreliable stream in the three hole.
 
The evening of October 5th, HBO has Miguel Cotto’s return to the network against Delvin Rodriguez from Orlando alongside Terence Crawford versus Andrey Klimov. Rounding out this HBO telecast is the heavyweight title tilt between Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin from Russia. So here we have the return of a star, a young contender and a significant title fight from overseas. No, it’s not the greatest card you’ll ever see but I do think it has a chance to provide some fun moments.
 
Other tripleheaders are basically borne from necessity as is the case with HBO’s November 9th card, which now has bout between Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade joining the fights featuring Mikey Garcia and Nonito Donaire. Chavez Jr.’s bout on September 7th was postponed, causing a shuffling of the deck (Martirosyan-Andrade was the semi-main for Chavez-Vera on that date).
 
Is there a chance that extra fights will lead to more duds being televised (ahem…Jermell Charlo-Demetrius Hopkins)? Absolutely. But it will also lead to more young fighters (case in point: Santa Cruz) who will have an opportunity to gain valuable exposure to the viewing public and flourish. It can go both ways but I’d like to have the option of finding out.
 
Football fans are conditioned to invest three-and-a-half hours when watching a game, baseball fans around three (OK, OK…four-and-a-half looong hours when the Yankees and Red Sox play), basketball fans around two-and-a-half. There’s no reason to believe boxing fans would have any problems budgeting more than two hours of their Saturday nights. Part of the fun of a pay-per-view gathering is you know you are locked in for several hours of your evening (although Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez was perhaps stretching it. A main event starting well past midnight? Geez…).
 
So why don’t the networks stage more three and four-fight broadcasts? Well, for one, money is an issue. Secondly, from a programming standpoint, the longer boxing telecasts go, the more difficult it is to sustain a high television rating. There is also always this factor: they may not want to block off more than an hour or two for boxing on a Saturday night (normally reserved for the premiere of movies and concerts).
 
But for us boxing fans, yeah, more is more.
 
Three is certainly not a crowd.
 
FINAL FLURRIES
 
 
I think there’s a good chance that Guillermo Rigondeaux will be back on HBO’s airwaves in December but the network will not accept Chris Avalos as his dance partner...I’m told the HBO show on November 16th in Ontario, California featuring Andre Ward-Edwin Rodriguez will feature another bout in support...I think Vicente Escobedo’s career may have come to an end in Mexico, where he was halted in two rounds by Fernando Carcamo...Thoroughly enjoyed “LT: The Life & Times” on Showtime. A very honest and blunt look at a great linebacker, who found life much tougher than the game of football...Right now, I think LSU has been more impressive than Alabama...Yeah, I wouldn’t even call Miami-Savannah State a sparring session for the Hurricanes but hitting a heavy bag...OK, did you think it would be the Giants that would be the worst football team in New York?...How bout dem Dolphins?...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.
 


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