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Richard Schaefer vows to get boxing on network TV within a year

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told George Willis that he's got big plans for boxing, and that within 12 months, he'll have the sweet science back on network television in America.

"Everybody's telling me you can't get boxing back on network television," Schaefer said recently. "I'm telling you I will get boxing back on network television. Everybody else can try it, too. Be my guest. But I want to get back on network television and everybody is going to say, 'I can't believe what Richard is doing.' Sometime in the next 12 months it's going to be on network television, I really think so."

Honestly, if anyone's going to get boxing on network television, it's Golden Boy, probably with an assist from Floyd Mayweather Jr., as I can't see anyone on Golden Boy's roster that could be paired with someone else on their roster to get a network TV fight. A network debut for Golden Boy would almost surely have to be a PPV-level fight. Maybe Mayweather-Mosley? What else could they do?

Boxing back on network TV would be massive, and it's not like there aren't some good fits. NBC has had a lot of trouble the last couple of years, and embracing boxing could be a great way to get some mojo back. The trick, of course, is doing it right. The first time CBS tried to do MMA, they chose Gary Shaw's EliteXC promotion, which folded in short order after Kimbo Slice lost a fight and both shows had their problems. Now, CBS is working with the established Strikeforce, which has a better chance at succeeding. They've learned.

Would boxing on network TV go off without a hitch? It's unlikely. Without being able to convince a Mayweather type (or a Pacquiao type, if Top Rank got there first) to probably forego some PPV money in order to make an impression for the good of the sport, I don't know that they'd have the firepower up front to make the splash you need to. You start big, and then eventually you can book some smaller fights, the type that promise big action. Maybe do two or three major fights per year, and if you can get a monthly series out of it, use it to promote good, young fighters, too.

I'm not saying it's bad that boxing is "stuck" on pay cable vendors like HBO and Showtime, but their subscription numbers just do not compare to the eyeball numbers that any network can promise.

Hopefully if Schaefer or anyone else can wrangle that shot, they won't blow it, and screwing it up would be pretty easy to do. But I'm glad Richard and Golden Boy are thinking this big.

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