Some were surprised by today's announcement from HBO Sports that they would no longer be buying fights from Golden Boy Promotions, but GBP CEO Richard Schaefer wasn't among them. From BoxingScene.com:
"I am not surprised. If you look at HBO Sports president Ken Hershman, he did not have any conversations with me since last November or December. So clearly it's the aftermath of the two biggest names in the sport, Floyd Mayweather and Canelo, leaving HBO for Showtime. HBO is upset at Al Haymon, HBO is upset with me and I guess this is their way of getting back at us. I think it is an ill-advised strategy because I feel the only ones who are getting hurt here are the HBO subscribers, which are used to seeing the best fighters fight on HBO and obviously this is no longer going to be the case."
As usual with Schaefer, there is a mix of truth and promoter spin in here. Canelo is not the second-biggest star in the sport, and realistically, Schaefer's bosom buddies at Showtime cut Top Rank off in this exact same manner last year, which led to the network being almost exclusively Golden Boy-controlled, save for the odd ShoBox or the like. No Top Rank fights have aired on Showtime since Golden Boy and Haymon have started filtering their fighters over.
So what Schaefer is saying is that what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. HBO did what Showtime did not do, they made it public and made it concrete. Top Rank was just quietly frozen out at Showtime, save for Bob Arum occasionally taking a shot at Stephen Espinoza, who would say that Top Rank offered what they felt were bad fights, then air Tarver-Kayode as a main event or whatever, so it is, as usual, a big circle jerk of nobody saying anything that's going to amount to any progress, as the sport continues to move backwards into more petty beefs and grudges. The bottom line remains that Golden Boy and Top Rank refuse to make money with each other, and now they've dragged the networks fully into it. It was inevitable.