The Erik Morales-Manny Pacquiao, Felix Trinidad-Winky Wright, Arturo Gatti-Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins-Jermain Taylor super fights have made 2005 one of the strongest years for HBO PPV in a while. While many boxing fans were eagerly anticipating each of those events, the fact remains that they were all pay-per-views. None of them were available to the millions of HBO subscribers accustomed to world class boxing. Fortunately for HBO, they air several of the most captivating original series to ever hit the air waves because in 2005 they've bombarded boxing fans with more bullshit than Penn and Teller could ever muster up.
Before we expose what we believe is the root of HBO's woes let's take a look at what they've given us thus far.TOP RANK
: Jan. 22: Floyd Mayweather Jr-Henry Bruseles (mismatch) and Samuel Peter-Yanqui Diaz (Garbage)MAIN EVENTS:
Jan. 29: Arturo Gatti-Jesse James Leija (mismatch) and Kassim Ouma-Kofi Jantuah* (good fight)GOLDEN BOY
: Feb. 19: Bernard Hopkins-Howard Eastman (historical mismatch) and Jermain Taylor*-Daniel Edouard (Garbage. But hey, at least it was a middleweight)TOP RANK
: Feb. 26: Miguel Cotto-DeMarcus Corley (since it happened it Puerto Rico we'll call it basura. And the basura only began to smell better once Cotto got clocked)MAIN EVENTS
: March 26: Fernando Vargas-Ray Joval* (what looked like a decent fight on paper became garbage when Vargas spent the night backpeddling from a feather fisted Joval)K2 PROMOTIONS:
April 23: Wladimir Klitschko-Eliseo Castillo (GARBAGE. Who thought it couldn't get worse than Yanqui Diaz? No wonder Castro doesn't allow US broadcasts onto the island)DKP:
April 30: James Toney-John Ruiz (HBO's first competitive heavyweight fight of the year stained by Toney's positive steroid test) DKP
: May 21: Lamon Brewster-Andrew Golota (If only HBO first six telecasts lasted a combined :53)TOP RANK:
June 11: Miguel Cotto-Muhammad Abdullaev and Kid Diamond-Joel Casamayor (GOOD NIGHT OF BOXING) GOOSSEN TUTOR:
June 18: Antonio Tarver-Glen Johnson II and *Ike Quartey-Verno Phillips (GOOD NIGHT OF BOXING)*'s
are for Lou DiBella fighters. Although his dates have run out, it's evident the former HBO suit still has some pull with the network.
Here's what we have to look forward to:MAIN EVENTS:
August 20: Fernando Vargas-Javier Castillejo and Rocky Juarez-In Jin Chi (Murad Muhammad's inability to deliver on his winning purse bid, has given HBO at least one competitive fight this summer, although Vargas-Castillejo should be competitive since Vargas doesn't appear to have much left)TOP RANK:
September 10: Erik Morales-Zahir Raheem (mismatch) and Manny Pacquiao-Hector Velasquez (mismatch)TOP RANK
: September 24: Miguel Cotto-Gianluca Branco (mismatch)
How can HBO sink so low so fast?
What's the root of this problem?
Those in the know will tell you that HBO dropped the ball big time when they were putting together what became a tremendous Legendary Nights series.
HBO put the cart in front of the horse. The network had already put the show together by the time they figured out they had not received permission to use footage Top Rank and Main Events owned rights to.
Realizing their mistake, HBO reached out to Top Rank and Main Events to remedy the situation. Main Events accepted an undisclosed sum of money in exchange for the rights, and Top Rank Inc requested and received dates (a bunch of em) in exchange for allowing HBO to use the footage.
As you can see from HBO's 2005 schedule, Top Rank and Main Events have received 8 of the 13 dates HBO has booked thus far.
It would have been nice if Top Rank followed in the footsteps of Lou DiBella, who at least had the decency to sell his dates when he didn't have any acceptable product.
As Boxingtalk.com has thoroughly explained over the past several months, HBO lost MILLIONS of dollars on the Vitali Klitschko-Danny Williams PPV.
HBO's financial woes are evident when one looks at their schedule and realizes that all of the HBO telecasts from February 26-May 21 only featured ONE televised fight.
Perhaps we should look at this optimistically in the sense that HBO was only forcing one piece of trash down our throats on most of those Saturday nights.
HBO's two HUGE mistakes,the Legendary Nights blunder and purchasing the Vitali Klitschko-Danny Williams PPV have had a long term effect on the quality of programming we've been receiving from what used to be the Heart and Soul of boxing.
At the end of the day, the entire sport of boxing is suffering as a result of HBO's stupidity and someone must be held accountable.
In my opinion, if any heads are to rolll down sixth avenue, Ross Greenburg's neck should be first on the chopping block since he's been the one making decisions and trying to multi-task other execs duties as well as his own.
After all, this is the same Greenburg that righteously spoke of heavyweight unification one month before he approved Wladimir Klitschko-Eliseo Castillo. (A date the genius committed to when he agreed to lose millions on Vitali Klitschko-Danny Williams)
And yes, the same Greenburg that had all but given thumbs up to Vitali Klitschko-Calvin Brock.
Someone who doesn't know anything about boxing should not have the power to make decisions that have a detrimental effect on our entire industry.
Greenburg should just leave the boxing decisions to the few boxing people left at HBO, which may begin and end with Mark Taffet.
If he doesn't, it's hard to imagine HBO boxing ever recovering from going "Six Feet Under" in 2005.
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