As the sweet science spreads to online streaming and veterans like Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions roll on, HBO is ending its boxing programming, with no fights planned beyond October 27th’s middleweight title bout between Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Of its production staff, only Jim Lampley will remain, and a documentary on Muhammad Ali is their only planned boxing content of 2019.
HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson explained the decision as such:
“This is not a subjective decision,” Nelson said in a recent interview. “Our audience research informs us that boxing is no longer a determinant factor for subscribing to HBO.”
“There’s plenty of boxing out there,” Nelson said. “But what we have not seen is a lot of signature destination fights.”
He did not, however, close the door on a potential comeback.
“I’m still a fan of boxing,” Nelson said. “If there is a destination event, absolutely we’re in that conversation.”
HBO Boxing began in 1973 with George Foreman’s destruction of Joe Frazier, and in all has hosted more than 1,000 fights. Beyond the cards themselves, it hosted regular boxing content, including The Fight Game with Jim Lampley and its “24/7” series. The sport and this network have been inextricably linked for much longer than I’ve been alive, and it will be extremely strange to see it go.
We won’t be starved for content, at least. DAZN and ESPN+ are making strong inroads, and even Facebook is getting in on the action thanks to a partnership with Golden Boy and Main Events. The sport we love is still here, with plenty of pillars rising to take the newfound slack.
Say goodbye to the past, and come along with me into the future.