Arum Claims HBO Is A Waste For Linares-Loma
Heading into 2018, both Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions believed that they could work together to showcase the best fights and fighters from their organizations and bridge the gap between their individual network deals.
And according to Boxing Scene, on their first attempt at a cross-brand fight, the two sides have already reached an impasse, not only the date of the fight, but also the network that would air it.
Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum, has a less than favorable opinion of Peter Nelson, who leads HBO Sports, and believes his network partner ESPN would be the better option for a proposed May 12th fight at Madison Square Garden.
The key reason for May 12th being an unworkable date for Golden Boy is because HBO will be airing the replay of the GGG-Canelo rematch, with a potential live card on the network.
And while Golden Boy is willing for any other date after May 12th, Top Rank has already locked in MSG. What further complicates any deal for an ESPN fight is HBO being able to match any offer on Linares’ next fight.
Eric Gomez, Golden Boy’s President, also told Boxing Scene that HBO is willing to offer more money for the May 12th fight.
Arum claims that even though HBO is offering more money, ESPN has the larger audience and that a fight of this magnitude should not be “wasted” on HBO.
Per a comment during a Reddit AMA, Arum broke it down as such.
“HBO is a very, very small network. It gets a limited number of viewers. ESPN, because it’s free, has a potential audience of more than 3x HBO. So to put a good fight on HBO is sort of a waste when we have the ability to put it on a major network like ESPN. It’s time that boxing got out from under the shadows. I mean, the premium networks have been good to boxing but they have limited audiences. WE need boxing to be seen by the most possible people, and that’s over free television.”
Arum also explained the backup plan if they’re unable to get Linares on May 12th, explaing that “…if that’s not possible, Lomachenko would look to fight [WBO lightweight champion Ray Beltran].”