Apr 1, 2019

COULD LACKLUSTER PBC PPV CARDS HARM FOX-NFL RELATIONSHIP?

The hottest boxing reporter in the business at the moment, Mike Coppinger of Fox Sports, continued to knock out the biggest stories in the industry today as he detailed the future fight plans of two of the biggest stars in Al Haymon‘s Premier Boxing Champions stable: Manny Pacquaio and Errol Spence, Jr..

Citing “sources” from his Twitter account this morning, Coppinger first broke the news that, “Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman are in advanced talks for a pay-per-view welterweight title showdown that’s being targeted for July 13. No deal yet but it’s expected to be completed.”

Less than an hour later, Coppinger also cited, “sources,” as he added another major scoop, reporting, “Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter are on a collision course for a welterweight championship unification fight being pegged for September. Spence is coming off his first PPV headline bout, a shutout victory over Mikey Garcia last month. Porter defeated Ugas a week earlier.”

Coppinger later indicated that like the Spence-Garcia fight last month, staging the Spence-Porter matchup in Spence’s Dallas hometown was a, “Strong possibility.

In the moments that immediately followed Spence easily dispatching Garcia on March 16, 2019, in what was a woeful mismatch, Spence and fellow PBC stablemate Pacquiao – who not-coincidentally was seen in the AT&T Stadium ring in Dallas following Spence’s shutout of Garcia – appeared to agree to fight each other in the immediate future.

While such a matchup would fall considerably short in entertainment value to a Spence-Terence Crawford clash, at the very least Spence-Pacquaio possessed enough intrigue to justify a considerable number of high double-figure PPV buys.

Alas, even a gold watch fight such as Pacquiao-Spence is now beyond the fight fan’s reach with PBC broadcast partner Fox seemingingly willing to sign off on Haymon’s total disregard for the boxing public.

The Haymon-assembled, March 16, 2019, fight card that was headlined by Spence-Garcia, staged inside AT&T Stadium and subsequently proclaimed by innumerable media observers and fight fans to be the worst night of boxing ever offered as a PPV event – let alone one that cost $74.95 – was also the first boxing PPV ever put on by PBC bagholder partner Fox. (See below.)

Now comes word that Haymon & Fox, eschewing a Pacquaio-Spence matchup that was seemingly promised inside Jerryworld’s ring after the Spence-Garcia walkover, want the public to fork over another high-dollar PPV fee to watch Shawn Porter bob and weave his way to his children’s college tuition – while losing to Spence in an inevitable, mark-free unanimous decision once again inside AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

While Haymon’s soft-pedaling is nothing new and a big reason why boxing is marginalized by the media, Fox’s broadcast partnership with Haymon was only recently struck and sold as a groundbreaking deal that would breathe life into the sport.

But instead of forging the best matchups the sport has to offer, Fox’s first PPV was a wildly-overpriced insult to the intelligence of even the most casual boxing follower.

Now, does Fox want another embarrassment that was the Spence-Card fight card reflecting on its much-favored NFL partner, Dallas Cowboys owner and AT&T Stadium operator Jerry Jones?

That Fox finds itself in such a potentially unacceptable position might well be the best thing to happen to boxing in a long time.