Nathan Cleverly and Juergen Braehmer meet next Saturday in the UK, and their fight will be live in the US on Epix (and in Times Square). (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Epix heard the demand of boxing fans and hopefully if they just happened to read this site realized how incredibly worthless a month-long tape delay of any fight is in 2011. So their airing of the double-header on May 21 from the United Kingdom has now been bumped to a live slot.
This is good for a few reasons. First and foremost, I seriously can't express how unbelievably pointless it would be to make a big deal out of airing a May 21 taped show on June 18. There is nobody in Epix's target demographic here that wants to see that fight that won't see it on May 21, or least a hell of a lot sooner than June 18. I love what may (or may not) be the idea from Epix, to pick up meaningful fights from overseas that aren't going to catch the interest of HBO or Showtime, because I think there is a great niche audience for that in the States, and more boxing -- and more good boxing -- is a great thing.
The May 21 card from the UK is an excellent pickup. Juergen Braehmer vs Nathan Cleverly is an intriguing fight, and the James DeGale vs George Groves fight is something special, in my opinion. But everything has to be live for it to work for U.S. audiences, especially small audiences like this one will attract. No one's saying this will make Epix some major player in boxing, but they could really pick up a healthy amount of new subscribers, both on TV and online, if they consistently offer cards like this.
The fight will also be shown live in Times Square, which I doubt anyone will pay attention to other than to wonder what in the hell's going on. But hey, there it is: Juergen Braehmer vs Nathan Cleverly, live in Times Square.