Even before today's big announcement that HBO Sports will no longer be in business with Golden Boy Promotions, the signs were quite clear that Golden Boy was aligning almost exclusively with Showtime Sports and their new boss, former GBP lawyer Stephen Espinoza.
One of the few fighters under the Golden Boy and Al Haymon banners to remain on HBO was Adrien Broner, the rising Cincinnati star, still just 23 years of age and considered one of the rising stars, in and out of the ring, in the boxing world. Broner has done good TV ratings for HBO and picks up buzz with each passing fight, and with a lot of his corny but seemingly effective interviews.
Broner may have been really at the heart of the matter. With his idol Floyd Mayweather leaving HBO for Showtime and CBS Sports, it was expected that Broner would be positioned as the new face of HBO boxing, if not immediately, then very soon. That would have meant that HBO needed to lock Broner up in a long-term deal, and with little leverage in any potential negotiations with Haymon and Golden Boy on that front, that could be near the heart of the matter here: How far was HBO willing to bend over to keep Broner in their TV stable?
If that was a deciding factor, then the answer is not far enough. Kevin Iole reports that Broner may have a decision of his own to make soon, too: His contracts with GBP and Haymon expire in April, and 50 Cent has expressed interest.
Broner's contract with Golden Boy and adviser Al Haymon reportedly expires in April. Rap star turned boxing promoter Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson has reportedly made an offer to Broner to join his company, SMS Promotions, when his Golden Boy deal is done.
There's no question that Haymon and Golden Boy are better at promoting boxing than Mr. Jackson has proven to be so far. 50 has gotten Yuriorkis Gamboa a fight that was essentially promoted by Top Rank, led Billy Dib into a featherweight title loss, and has Andre Dirrell lined up for a Friday Night Fights main event. Right now, he's still finding his footing, if that's ever going to happen.
Broner, of course, is an actual relevant star fighter right now with a growing fan base, and he would make 50 Cent's promotional team matter a bit more. But what can 50 do for Broner? Dirrell left Haymon last year and look where that's gotten him. Broner would probably be working mostly with Top Rank fighters, or against Gamboa, and 50 doesn't have the juice to protect him the way he has been so far. It would be a risk -- if 50 promotes Broner, Top Rank has no real reason to offer him easy fights. They can try to have one of their guys topple him and steal his thunder. They'd want him in with someone like Brandon Rios, not someone like Gavin Rees.
I'm certainly not saying there wouldn't be great fights for Broner if he jumped ship, if he wants them. And maybe he'd even consider signing directly with Top Rank, but I don't see that happening, just on gut feeling.
Where does Broner fit best? What does he want to do? We'll find out soon enough.