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Report: Wilder vs Ortiz rematch to be FOX PPV, not Showtime

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It’s hard not to see the move as a blow to Showtime’s boxing brand.

BOXING: MAR 03 Wilder v Ortiz Photo by Edward Diller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was expected that the Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz rematch would be officially announced this weekend as part of PBC’s fight week festivities for the Spence-Porter pay-per-view on Saturday, and that is still the plan.

But the big news right now is a report from Mike Coppinger that, as some had speculated already, Wilder-Ortiz II will not be a Showtime pay-per-view offering, but a FOX pay-per-view effort on Nov. 23, with the fight headed to Las Vegas.

As Coppinger notes (without putting it this way), Showtime paid out the ass to secure the WIlder-Breazeale fight for its airwaves in May, with the hope that this would keep Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO), who is one of the bigger stars in the sport as the WBC heavyweight titleholder, a Showtime fighter. It appears to have not gone that way, and that’s a major blow for Showtime.

It’s really no secret that since Premier Boxing Champions made its deal with FOX, Showtime’s boxing brand has taken major hits. The quality and frequency of Showtime Championship Boxing cards in 2019 has been lousy, and there’s really just no getting around that.

It’s not a shot at anyone who works at Showtime Sports, either. Everyone there seems dedicated to making a good boxing brand, but they’re just not getting the fights, and since every major promoter has some type of exclusive content deal these days — PBC with FOX and to an ever-lesser extent Showtime, Top Rank with ESPN, Matchroom and Golden Boy with DAZN — the ability to go out and get quality, high-level fights is just not there anymore.

They’re simply getting the short end of the stick from PBC, and it’s hard to argue with PBC’s idea, either. If FOX are going to legitimately push their boxing events, it’s just a much bigger audience than what Showtime, a subscription channel, can offer.

If this trend continues, it can really only go one of two ways: either Showtime manages to work with PBC to get better cards in 2020, or Showtime’s days in boxing are probably numbered. With HBO, it was a matter of a network gradually but consistently losing interest in investing in the sport. With Showtime, it appears they could be simply being squeezed out of the game.