The two biggest boxing broadcasts in America have tied for the Bad Left Hook 2011 TV Network of the Year award, as premium cable networks HBO and Showtime distanced themselves from the pack by offering the most big fights, as usual.
HBO actually received more first-place votes, with six to Showtime's three, but was named on two less ballots (Showtime 13, HBO 11), giving weight to Showtime's six second-place votes. Here is the full rundown.
For HBO, it was a year of ups and downs. Longtime HBO Sports honcho Ross Greenburg was ousted early in the year, with Kery Davis functionally taking over in what turned out to be an interim role, as late in the year, the company hired Ken Hershman away from Showtime to head the brand in 2012.
But there's no arguing that HBO brought the biggest names in boxing all year. Floyd Mayweather Jr returned in September, and though HBO "lost" Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto to Showtime early in the year, neither experiment worked well enough for Top Rank to not go back "home" to HBO for bigger fights with the two in November and December.
Showtime did manage to bring Pacquiao and Cotto on board in May and March, respectively, and the Super Six World Boxing Classic finished up with a significant fight in December. Pound-for-pound, it has been argued for years that Showtime simply spends their more limited budget better than HBO does.
ESPN finished in third place after the best season of Friday Night Fights in years, and UK-based BoxNation and Sky Sports also received support.
Voters for the 2011 Bad Left Hook Boxing Awards are Scott Christ, Andrew Fruman, Brickhaus, Matt Miller, James Foley, Sean Mills, Ryan Bivins, Waldo Rastel, Kory Kitchen, Matt Mosley, Oli Goldstein, Nick Foxx, Chris Celletti, Sidney Boquiren and Corey Erdman.