Groves outpoints Eubank Jr to secure a spot in the final

The World Boxing Super Series has been an instant success. Kalle and Nisse Sauerland, who are the co founders of the series itself, can tap themselves on the back for the jobs they’ve done. The production crew has been great, and the fighters are just the icing on top of the cake. So far, we’ve had three straight weeks of good fights. Usyk vs Briedis, Gassiev vs Dorticos and yesterday with Eubank Jr vs Groves. Next week in the last super middleweight semi final we’ll get Smith vs Brahmer.

The fight has been hyped up for the past several months in the United Kingdom, and it lived up to expectations. Chris Eubank Jr suffered his first loss several years ago when he was at middleweight and fought Billy Joe Saunders. Chris was a young fighter, and his hopes were that the would learn from that fight. Unfortunately, he hasn’t made the necessary adjustments since that fight.

George Groves was able to out box Chris Eubank Jr comfortably. Eubank was overly swinging his punches wildy for the majority of the fight, and Groves was able to use his jab and throw cleaner and more effective punches. Eubank was never able to adjust throughout the fight, and Groves simply proved to be the more intelligent fighter throughout the majority of the rounds. Groves sustained in what appeared a dislocated left shoulder in the 12th round.

“The jab was landing correctly all night. When he had success, it was because I was doing something wrong. He was strong, he was aggressive, but obviously wasn’t enough tonight.” -George Groves

George Groves ended up improving to 28-3 (20 KOs) and the judges scorecards read 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113, winning by unanimous decision. No controversy, and the judges got it right. The world boxing super series has been lucky that the tournament itself has gone as smooth as it has. There haven’t been any delays in terms of injuries, the judges have scored the fight fairly. In May, we’ll see the final in the cruiserweight division. Shortly after we’ll see the final in the super middleweight division.

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Where art thou Rigondeaux?

It’s been a little over two months since Guillermo Rigondeaux stepped up two weight classes to fight Vasyl Lomachenko, and lost by retiring on his stool after the sixth round. Rigondeaux didn’t stand a chance against Lomachenko, and besides the first round, which was fairly even, Lomachenko’s overal height, weight and technique was too much for Rigondeaux to overcome. Rigondeaux decided not to continue after the sixth round, complaining of an injured left hand. It was then announced that he suffered a severe hand contusion. It was Guillermo’s first professional loss and apparently, he hasn’t taken it well.

Prior to the fight being made, Rigondeaux’s twitter account was doing an awful lot of yapping. Publicly calling out Vasyl Lomachenko, his manager Egis Kilmas and his promoter Bob Arum. Previously, when Lomachenko was fighting at 126 pounds, Top Rank and Rigondeaux’s promoter Roc Nation Sports and Caribe Promotions tried to hash out a deal. Unfortunately, Rigondeaux felt that Top Rank’s offer of $500 thousand wasn’t enough for a fight, and complained of wanting a catch weight at 124 pounds. Rigondeaux was fighting at junior feather weight (122 pounds).

However, despite failing to get any other notable opponents since their first round of negotiations, Rigondeaux was now publicly willing to move up junior lightweight (130 pounds) to secure the fight. Second round of negotiations, Rigondeaux gave up more weight, and less money ($400 thousand) this time around, just to prove to the world that he would be able to beat Lomachenko. Arum has received criticism for some of the statements he’s made over Rigondeaux. But perhaps the blame should be put on Rigondeaux’s team that he hand picked.

Guillermo Rigondeaux got his biggest opportunity in his professional career, when he faced one of Top Rank’s big stars in Nonito Donaire. Rigondeaux out boxed Donaire and took his belt in the process of doing so. It was great accomplishment for Rigondeaux, especially since Donaire was on many people’s top 10 pound for pound lists. Rigondeaux got the attention he needed, however it came with some consequences. Rigondeaux’s performance over Donaire, as dominant as it was, lacked an exciting style to please the American audience. Nevertheless, Top Rank put Rigondeaux on a HBO main event against a respectable opponent in Jospeh Agbeko.

This was an opportunity for Rigondeaux to flourish into a potential star. However, the main event that was televised on HBO did a mere 550 thousand views. Which is awful numbers for a main event on a big premium network like HBO. The co main event in that card did 718 thousand views, which most saw James Kirkland and Glen Tapia go to war. Top Rank representatives saw many people filing out of the stadium when Rigondeaux was fighting as well. Guillermo does not have an exciting and appealing style for most fans. Fans voiced their displeasure by leaving the stadium and turning off the television.

Bob Arum had a dilemma. He knew he had a special talent in Guillermo Rigondeaux, but with HBO telling Arum that they didn’t want Rigondeaux back on their network, he was going to have to resort in other ways to promote and show Rigondeaux. The following year, in the summer, Arum put Rigondeaux on a undercard fight in Macau, China to fight Anusorn Yotjan. After that fight, the contract with Top Rank and Rigondeaux was finished, and with no where to put Rigondeaux in any appropriate platform, Arum decided not to seek out a contract extension.

Under Top Rank, Rigondeaux was groomed in several occasions by being put on pay-per-view Top Rank undercards. Exposure was there, when a few of those times were held by Manny Pacquiao cards. Rigondeaux was placed on two HBO cards, against Donaire and Agbeko. The relationship with Rigondeaux and Top Rank/HBO didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean the promoter was at fault. Since leaving Top Rank, Rigondeaux signed with Roc Nation Sports, and was not televised as a main event attraction in the United States. He fought in Japan, once in the United Kingdom, and was in several HBO pay-per-view undercards that headlined Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Both cards didn’t do very much much buys.

Bob Arum put together a plan for Rigondeaux, the plan failed due to Rigondeaux’s lack of exciting style, and failure to self promote himself. Guys like Floyd Mayweather didn’t have an overwhelmingly exciting style, but he was able to promote himself due to his personality. Rigondeaux’s punch out put in each round is extremely low, and rarely makes risks in fights to go for knockouts. Rigondeaux doesn’t have the personality to sell tickets, and makes no attempt to speak English. With all those key factors, it’s obvious to why Rigondeaux wasn’t a bigger star in the United States.

In the United States, two things sell. Personality, and a fighters style in the ring. If you have both, it’s even better. Rigondeaux could’ve possibly became a bigger attraction, if he had a personality similar to Ricardo Mayorga. Mayorga didn’t speak any English, but grabbed fans attention by trash talking his way into fights and press conferences. Unfortunately for Rigondeaux, the only trash talking he really did was on social media, trying to secure a fight with Vasyl Lomachenko.

Perhaps one of the reasons why he wasn’t able to secure bigger fights, was possibly his unreasonable asking price for fights. Rigondeaux stated that he should’ve gotten more than $750 thousand (which was the amount he was paid under Top Rank when fought Nonito Donaire). But the business size would tell otherwise. Rigondeaux had not headlined a main event fight and had not fought on a major U.S. television network since being with Top Rank. There was no extra revenue coming in for him to even be able to pay out Rigondeaux’s desired dollar amount. Meanwhile, Lomachenko was regularly fighting on HBO, creating a fan base, and promoting himself by learning the English language and doing more interviews in English since coming to the states in 2014.

Rigondeaux signed with Roc Nation, a questionable move, considering they had not been known to really be go getters, in terms of promoting. Their business model is simple to them. Because they’re owned by Jay-Z, fighters should come to them for money, and fans should automatically follow the fighters they sign. Roc Nation Sports signed Miguel Cotto to a huge deal worth 3 fights and $50 million. Cotto was not making that much in recent fights, and was simply over paid by Roc Nation to create notoriety to have other fighters sign with them. However, in boxing, you have to do more than just simply sign fighters. This isn’t the NFL, MLB or NBA, more work needs to be done to expand the brand of other fighters who aren’t pay-per-view attractions. It’s something Roc Nation failed to do since becoming a promotional company as well.

All the listed factors above are why Rigondeaux’s career did not pan out the way he’d like. Since losing the Lomachenko fight, there has not been one single tweet from Rigondeaux’s account. It’s still up in the air on whether or not Rigondeaux will return in the ring. Perhaps he was simply humiliated with how things turned out by being out classed by Lomachenko. But his silence remains questionable and ironic, considering all the trash talking he did leading up to the fight. Rigondeaux is still undefeated in his own weight class, and should not be defined as bust. There’s no shame to losing to a fighter that’s two weight above your own.

Rigondeaux didn’t win any extra fans in the Lomachenko fight either. He rarely threw more than 15 punches a round, and did almost nothing to win a round in that fight. He quit on his stool, due to a bruised left hand. Guillermo was criticized by many, especially his opponent. Lomachenko had fought Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo with basically one hand, for half of the tail end of that fight. If Rigondeaux does return, it’ll almost be close to impossible for him to secure a main event date with a major network. The best thing that came out of the Lomachenko fight, is that it peaked at 2.1 million views on ESPN. Rigondeaux needs to either pick better people to manage the rest of his career, or look hard into the mirror and make en effort to promote himself better. However, with him being 37 years of age, those days just may as well be behind him.

A trilogy in the making?

It’s official. The rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will take place May 5th at a location to be determined, on HBO pay-per-view. For the past few weeks, we’ve constantly heard from Golden Boy’s representatives that the fight was “almost signed.” Fans and media members were beginning to wonder why this deal was taking so long to get finalized. Now, everything is set.

As of now, it appears that the venue will be chosen sometime in February. So far, according to reports, Madison Square Garden in New York has put up a higher offer to host the fight, than the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But to be quite honest, it would be a complete shock if the fight ended up anywhere else but Las Vegas. Big pay-per-view fights normally land in Vegas. It’s where most of the revenue comes from.

The first fight got some heavy scrutiny. Thanks to one Adelaide Byrd, who scored the fight 118-110 for Canelo. Neither fighter deserved to win more than 8 rounds, especially Canelo. Two of the other judges who scored it 114-114 and 115-113 for Golovkin, seemed to be more at par with what went on in the fight. It’s due to the fact that the first fight ended in a draw, that makes me believe that we will see a trilogy, especially if the second fight is just as competitive.

Marketability between two fighters certainly comes into play when talking about multiple fights regarding the same two fighters. The first fight did about 1.3 million pay-per-view buys on HBO’s broadcast. The gate itself at the T-Mobile arena did around 27 million, just third behind Mayweather-Pacquiao and Mayweather-McGregor fights.

Floyd Mayweather, who we believe that is officially retired at this point. Anthony Joshua is making all of his money in the United Kingdom, and now it seems that Canelo Alvarez is currently the cash cow in America. However, just because he’s the United States biggest money grabber, doesn’t necessarily mean that he can pick any opponent he wants to have huge numbers.

Canelo’s last two fights in 2017 awarded him with two separate big time pay-per-view successful cards. In May, Canelo did a little over a million buys when he fought Julio Caesar Chavez Jr at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. A few months later in September in the same venue is when he fought Golovkin, and did respectable numbers as I mentioned previously.

No other fighter in the United States (besides Floyd Mayweather) can push more than a million buys. In fact, I find it hard to believe that Manny Pacquiao, who’s still not retired, can reach a million buys anymore. His last fight did 4.4 million views on ESPN when he fought Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia.

But despite breaking over a million twice in pay-per-view buys in 2017, it doesn’t mean Canelo can just fight anyone and get the same result. In September of 2016, Canelo fought Liam Smith in Arlington, Texas. The fight drew 51,000 in AT&T stadium. But the fight merely did between 250-300 thousand pay-per-view buys.

Canelo needs quality and legitimate opponents to keep those pay-per-view numbers up. Now that he’s in the middleweight division, there are a variety of quality opponents to face. But fighting guys like Daniel Jacobs, BJ Saunders, Demetrius Andrade etc, won’t be giving him the same amount of attention from casual fans to tune in like they do with Gennady Golovkin.

Let’s face it, any chance Golden Boy gets to make money, they’ll do it. Canelo Álvarez sums up about 80-90 percent of Golden Boy’s revenue. The rest of their stable consists of solid world champions, and a lot of prospects that they have to develop. Which makes the point that any chance Golden Boy can make the most amount of money on Canelo, they’ll certainly do it.

There isn’t a rematch clause attached to this rematch that was finalized by Golden Boy promotions, and Tom Loeffler. But of course, another close fight between both fighters will almost automatically make for another fight. Money talks in sports, especially for fighters and promoters. I’m expecting another close fight, and don’t see a scenario which either fighter gets knocked out. But this is boxing, and anything can happen.

Golovkin and Canelo can go down as the next great trilogy in the sport, which will most likely enhance their legacy. Fights like Barrera-Morales. Pacquiao-Marquez and other trilogies make for more fans to tune in. With the way these two fights are marketed, and how close their first fight was, baring any type of amazing result, a trilogy seems pretty much inevitable.

HBO double header ends in excitement

Since losing to Viktor Postol in 2015, Lucas Matthysse hasn’t fought anyone with top 10 talent in quite sometime. Lucas returned last May when he beat Emmanuel Taylor. It was disappointing not to see him return at all last year, but an early January 2018 fight was well needed.

Relatively unknown Tewa Kiram, who came in at 28-0 with 18 wins by knockout, was supposed to be an easy out for Lucas. Unfortunately, things didn’t seem to go according to plan. Tewa’s longer reach and movement seemed to have had Matthysse befuddled throughout the majority of the fight.

The fight itself was interesting to score, depending on how you saw the fight. Kiram was outlanding Lucas with his jab, but Matthysse was landing more power punches. This fight had a very smilier take to how Chris Algieri and Ruslan Provodnikov went.

Going by the judges score cards, two judges had it 69-4 and 68-65 for Lucas Matthysse and one just had it 68-65 for Tewa Kiram. I had the exact same scorecard as the last judge for Kiram. I personally didn’t see Matthysse landing hard enough punches to be able to secure some of those rounds. Nevertheless, Lucas Matthysse does what he does best. He finally connected on perfect shots that dropped Kiram twice, which forced the referee’s hand to stop the fight.

This wasn’t the same Lucas Matthysse that we’re all accustomed to seeing. Lucas wasn’t as active during rounds and certainly didn’t have the same pop in his punches. At age 35, its clear that Matthysse’s skills are declining. Prototypically, boxer punchers age a lot quicker than boxers that move around more, because they find themselves in more wars.

The end should be coming soon for Matthysse, it’s only a matter of time. That being said, while being interviewed by Max Kellerman, he stated that he wants fights against Manny Pacquiao and Danny Garcia. Interesting note, Bob Arum seems to be trying to put together an interesting card on April 14th in New York.

Crawford vs Horn seems to be all but almost finalized. What Top Rank is still waiting on is a fight for Manny Pacquiao. Its been rumored for a while now, that Pacquiao will be facing Mike Alvarado. However, having Pacquiao fight Matthysse will definitely sell more. Putting Pacquiao vs Matthysse and Crawford vs Horn at MSG on pay-per-view would definitely be a good card, if Top Rank can put it together.

Jorge Linares was trying to secure a fight with Mikey Garcia. They negotiated two different times, and couldn’t come up with a deal. Golden Boy tried finalizing a rematch with Campbell, but that didn’t get finalized either. Linares was then in position to fight his former sparring partner in Mercito Gesta.

Perhaps Linares didn’t expect for Gesta to give him some of the trouble that he received, but nevertheless, Linares was able to take care of business. Linares used his talent and his speed to his advantage. The only thing he wasn’t able to do was take out Gesta. Gesta barely blinked at some of the hardest shots that Linares landed on him. However, Gesta never was able to capitalize with virtually anything.

Judges had Linares winning 118-110 twice and 117-111. Despite getting the unanimous decision win, you didn’t see Linares look that particularly impressive. It appeared at times that Linares took off a lot if minutes off in each round, only to win them fairly convincingly with flurries.

We may be seeing the end for Jorge Linares as well. In terms of what’s next? Bob Arum said that he would be interested to make a fight with Linares and his star Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is rumored to return in late April, which is plenty of time to get a fight secure. A fight with Mikey Garcia would have to wait longer, as his Garcia’s fight with Lipinets got pushed back till March 10th.

Errol Spence dominates Lamont Peterson

Errol Spence Jr. continues to prove why he’s one of the most dominant fighters in the sport. In a post fight press conference, promoter Lou DiBella stated that Spence reminded him of Sugar Ray Leonard, in terms of his charisma and personality, how he’s able to turn the switch it to fighting mode in the ring.

All of the American fighters in the 2012 Olympics tabbed Spence as possibly the best fighter to be successful. He’s had high praise from hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach since he’s been a prospect, and was said that he gave Floyd Mayweather Jr. a tough test in sparing. It’s all coming together nicely for Spence.

Spence sold about 12 thousand seats at the Barclays Center, and improved as a fighter to 23-0 with 20 wins by knockout. Spence was dominant in every round against Lamont Peterson, even dropping him in the 5th round. Despite Peterson being inactive in recent years, it doesn’t take away how well Spence is turning out to be, as an elite fighter.

Spence retained the IBF belt with his defeat of Peterson. His goal is to unify the division, which current champions are Keith Thurman, who had the WBC and WBA belts, while Jeff Horn has the WBO belt. Spence is gaining much traction now, especially as a belt holder. But somehow, it’s still not enough to get the top PBC welterweight fighters clamoring at opportunities to fight him.

Late last year, Keith Thurman went on record saying that fighting Spence wasn’t on his “to do list” in 2018. He states that having a tune up fight, and fighting Shawn Porter again, which will be a mandatory for Keith, are more important currently. Errol Spence disagrees. Spence gives Thurman the benefit of the doubt, in terms of returning to the ring for a tune up fight due to injuries. But states that there should be no reason to why they can’t meet in the fall of this year. Lou DiBella also stated that unifications always trump mandatories.

Errol Spence has been calling out Keith Thurman since he was 15-0. But like every young fighter, they have to step aside and wait their turn and make their mark as a professional fighter, and even win a title. So far, Spence has done that. Despite getting the IBF title from Kell Brook last May, and dominating Peterson this past weekend, there still seems to be hesitation from PBC’s top guys.

Shawn Porter was there watching the fights live, as he was part of the broadcast team when Showtime streamed their fights live on their youtube channel showing the Kownacki and Browne fight. After the Spence-Peterson fight, he was being interviewed by several media outlets and stated that a Spence wasn’t in his radar. He mentioned that he wasn’t ranked by the IBF and that he still has goals on a Kieth Thurman rematch, who may return in April against Jessie Vargas.

Spence has every right to feel frustrated. Now that he has the belt, the top PBC guys appear to still dismiss wanting to fight Spence. Devon Alexander recently made his return, and he’s currently ranked 7th in the IBF rankings. Thats a fight that we can see in Spence’s return fight in the summer, possibly in Dallas. Other fighters ranked in the top ten are Bradley Skeete, Konstantin Ponomarev and Carlos Ocampo.

It would be wise for Spence to just continue being active, and not wait around for the Thurman’s, Porter’s and Garcia’s of the world. Staying active will only increase his marketability. Just take a look at Golovkin’s situation, Loeffler couldn’t get the top middleweight fighters to face GGG without having a realistic negotiations. However, GGG remained active, and continued to get more notoriety and eventually, the big fights came. That should be the plan for Spence, remain active.

Easter-Fortuna

Robert Easter Jr. retained his IBF belt this Saturday night, with many thought was a controversial win. Easter squeezed out a split decision win over Javier Fortuna, who missed weight by more than 2 pounds and did not seem to try to make the weight. Therefore, wasn’t eligible to win Easter’s belt, had Easter lost the fight.

I personally scored the fight 114-113 for Fortuna, and Steve Farhood scored it 115-112 for Fortuna. The fight was close and had a lot competitive swing rounds in it. But this is the second fight in which Robert Easter Jr. earned a questionable win. His weaknesses still haunts him, which is that he’s unable to use his strength’s to his advantages.

Easter continues to not use his reach and height advantages to his full potential. He shrinks himself down to where he allows his smaller opponents to be able to get inside, and thats where Easter stays stuck, instead of constantly moving around, using his jab and check left hooks.

Robert Easter Jr. hopes to be able to negotiate a fight against Mikey Garcia in his next fight. He even stated that he believes that once Lomachenko moves up in weight, that Lomachenko’s team will avoid Robert Easter. Garcia and Easter appeared to have been negotiating for a fight, after Garcia’s talks with Linares fell for a second time in a row.

Instead, Garcia went a different route and signed to fight Sergey Lipinets. Recently, Garcia has stated that after the Lipinets fight, he would like to fight Linares then Spence next. It will be interesting to see what fights Easter can get lined up next. Richard Commey is still ranked by the IBF and is currently ranked 3rd. Their first fight was a split decision ruling, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that rematch made if Easter isn’t able to get anyone worthy for his next fight.

Golden Boy’s future

Not too long ago, Golden Boy Promotions were the top promoting company in the business. A sour relationship with Al Haymon and Ken Hershman ended the relationship that HBO had with Golden Boy. Hershman wasn’t particularly fond of the way Haymon did his match making. Haymon wasn’t about to put a network first in his priorities and made it much easier for HBO sports executive to put the axe on that relationship.

Oscar De La Hoya was stunned with the news. Put told his CEO Richard Scheafer to find a network to put their talented roster together. On came Showtime, which led the way to their current success now. Shortly after, a separation between Scheafer and Golden Boy was imminent. Golden Boy and Scheafer reached on a $50 million dollar settlement.

The heart of the reason on why the former CEO and owner of Golden Boy split was due to the fact that many of the contracts that Golden Boy had with Haymon’s fighters expired. Which led the promotional company vulnerable. Golden Boy wasn’t allowed to have much of a say in some of the match making. Oscar wasn’t happy about the situation which led to the lawsuit with Richard. De La Hoya voiced his opinion stating that Scheafer didn’t do the job of what a CEO should’ve done.

Oscar was able to keep a few fighters that were still under promotional contract. Fighters like Leo Santa Cruz, Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse. Shortly after, De La Hoya tried to make Santa Cruz vs Rigondeaux a possibility, in hopes of trying to put the best and competitive fights out there. According to Oscar, Haymon blocked the potential fight from happening. Frusterated, De La Hoya bought out Leo’s contract and allowed him to be a free agent.

Considering the many losses that Golden Boy’s stable suffered, they have done a tremendous job replenishing their stable with young prospects. Canelo Alvarez remains to be their cash cow, and about 80% of their revenue. But with the help of HBO, which will continue showcasing their big fighters like Alvarez, Jorge Linares, Lucas Matthysse and others, ESPN will showcase much of their deep prospects with plenty of upside.

Their will be a day when Alvarez won’t be their cash cow anymore, and maybe one day decides to venture off on his own, much like how his promoter did when he created Golden Boy promotions and left Top Rank. Oscar, and his partner Eric Gomez and Roberto Diaz have been doing a fabulous job promoting, matching making, scouting and developing talent. Lets take a look at some of their talented prospects.

Ryan Garcia 13-0 (12 KOs) Super Featherweight

Ryan Garcia is probably Golden Boy’s most attractive prospect currently. Garcia has extremely fast hands and has been extremely active since he turned professional. However, he doesn’t lack offensive explosiveness. Garcia is 19, so he still has some more time to develop. His biggest weakness so far, is not keeping his hands up consistently.

Lamont Roach Jr 16-0 ( 6 KOs) Super Featherweight

Slick orthodox fighter, Lamont Roach Jr won’t be winning knockout of the year awards. But what he will do is frustrate his opponents with his defensive skills. Roach has good enough footwork to make for a difficult target for his opponents.

Vergil Ortiz 8-0 (8 KOs) Super Lightweight

Ortiz is going to be a lot of fun to watch in his career. Vergil is a hard hitting orthodox fighter that gives his opponents hell. Already a good body puncher, Ortiz will have no issues making his opponents hurting. He’ll have to continue mastering his craft on cutting off the ring to be successful.

Alexis Rocha 10-0 (7 KOs) Welterweight

Rocha isn’t one of the fastest fighters out there, but what he lacks in hand speed, he makes up for it using his patience to his advantage. Alexis has a come forward style, and is selective with his offense on when he believes is the best opportunity to open up.

Niko Valdes 6-0 (5KOs) Super Middleweight

They call him the Baby Face Assassin. Niko is still mildly raw in terms of his abilities, but he has talent that needs constant polishing. He has a solid counter left hand, and likes to walk down his opponents. Valdes is going to have to stay busy as a prospect, to make up for the lack of fights he had as a amateur, but nonetheless, he has a very appealing style.

Edgar Valerio 12-0 (7 KOs) Featherweight

Valerio has a boxer puncher style. An orthodox fighter, Edgar uses his height and reach advantage for his division fairly well by utilizing his jab constantly to now allow his opponents set their offense whenever they please. Valerio’s strength is his left hand, he’s able to too hook off his jab fairly well. Valerio has a chance to be a match up nightmare in his division, similar to Golden Boy’s Rey Vargas at super bantamweight.

Jason Quigley 13-0 (10KOs) Middleweight

Middleweight Irish prospect Jason Quigley hasn’t fought much in 2017. In fact, he’s only fought once in that calendar year. Jason is going to have to stay active in 2018, as some people felt his stock slightly went down after having a rough outing against faded Glen Tapia. If Jason is committed to his career, he could have a solid career with Golden Boy as an exciting fighter.

Should promoters stop relying so much on HBO?

For decades, HBO has been the standard for top quality boxing programing. Rival premium network Showtime has always been considered as runner ups, until now. In the past few years, HBO hasn’t been as committed to the sport in recent time. That may not be entirely Peter Nelson’s fault. Who currently serves as HBO Sports executive Vice President. HBO’s boxing budget has been cut down, which leaves promoters sometimes squandering for dates. Well, at least thats how Top Rank felt like.

Top Rank, who’s owner Bob Arum stated that they weren’t fond of how the way HBO Sports was being ran, which led them to find a new outlet for their fighters in ESPN/Disney. Promoters like Kathy Duva of Main Events and Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy, have stated how important HBO is to their respected promotional companies in developing their fighters on HBO to help turn them into stars, or higher name recognition.

HBO still holds the most subscribers with almost 50 million, as far as premium network channels. Rival network Showtime, holds almost 30 million subscribers. Out of the 20 top shows in premium network averages, 17 out of those 20 were HBO shows, while 3 of them were Showtime. It’s clear, that in order to get the best and most views, HBO would be the better option to take your fighters to. However, as Peter Nelson pointed out in his recent interview with Yahoo Sports Kevin Iole, “HBO isn’t a sports network, its a story telling network.”

Top Rank president Todd Duboef stated a similar reason to why they decided to partner up with ESPN. Todd stated that HBO was more worried about competing with Netflix’s and Amazon Prime videos of the world, as far as content for TV shows. Todd wanted to increase his fighters awareness. For that, their last card in December that had Vasiliy Lomachenko face Guillermo Rigondeaux, landed them 2.1 million views on ESPN. Their highest viewers on HBO earlier this year was 961 thousand, when Terence Crawford beat Felix Diaz. As you can see, its a huge difference.

But despite Showtime having less subscribers and average views than HBO, why is it even considered better? The answer, quality. Showtime simply delivered more quality fights than their rival network HBO. HBO put Alvarez vs Golovkin and Ward vs Kovalev rematch on their pay-per-view platform. Yes, showtime has a wider variety of fighters to work with, especially since Al Haymon is providing almost all of his fighters to Stephen Espinoza, But now that Top Rank has left HBO, they’re now more limited.

To Peter Nelson’s credit, he’s tried to do the best he can to work with what he’s got. He’s gotten creative with losing Top Rank’s stable, and so far appears to have invested more on the flyweight division. Theres plenty of talent their to be shown, that normally wouldn’t have gotten the attention it deserved in the past. HBO’s current promoters it works with is Golden Boy, Main Events, K2 which will be more of 360 promotions that’ll be ran by Tom Loeffler, and now Eddie Hearn with Matchroom USA, and quite possibly Dana White in the near future. Those are a lot of promoters to compete with to get and fight for dates.

In 2018, Top Rank will get 18 dates from ESPN. What’s good about that platform, is that they’re able to showcase all of their prospect fighters through the ESPN app. Fans can keep a close eye on their prospects on how they develop and follow their careers closely before becoming champions. Fighting on ESPN or ESPN 2 would give fighters more of a following, which ESPN currently has around 90 million subscribers.

What ESPN does that makes it easier for the younger demographic of fans is they’re able to watch fights, without having to pay $17 a month to watch fights on HBO and even dish out an extra $65-$75 dollars for pay-per-view fights. ESPN is extremely versatile in their programing, whether its on their cable channel, or on their app. ESPN/Disney had just bought 20th century FOX and collected a bunch of the regional FOX sports channels for their new streaming OTT platform for the spring of 2018.

HBO is behind in technology use. Their rival network Showtime has been more aggressive with being creative on how they distribute their content. They’ve began to have fights stream on Facebook or their YouTube channel, and grab streams from the U.K. while HBO hasn’t seem to been able to catch up to Showtime in this category. At this point, with HBO, promoters are limited to what they can show.

Despite having a close relationship with HBO, Golden Boy knows they needed another outlet to showcase their younger prospect fighters, which is why they went out to ESPN to get plenty of dates, for their fighters to have a platform to develop their fighters. Their census is that once they are ready, they would then move them to HBO to gain attraction. However, they would certainly lose less following, once they jumped ship to HBO.

Prior to the PBC taking a bunch of networks under their realm, and using them to have time buys for their fights, Main Events had a deal in place with NBC/ NBC Sports to showcase their fights. It would be wise for Kathy Duva to look for another similar deal with NBC in the near future. As of now, they rely heavily on HBO for their fighters like Sergey Kovalev, and now Dmitry Bivol who isn’t signed directly to Main Events, but will be working with them slowly.

Until HBO can prove that they will be becoming more creative with their content, having more fights stream on different platforms, give promoters more of an option to showcase their prospects, then HBO will continue to just be 2nd or 3rd best in providing boxing content. Completely disregarding HBO would indeed be foolish. Because lets face it, when HBO really tries, theres no one better production. Their 24/7 series was clearly better than rival Showtime’s “All Access.” But again, in the meantime, it appears that HBO/Time Warner, have different priorities.

If promoters indeed want to keep their relationship with HBO, then they’re going to have to get creative with finding a separate outlet to help build other fighters, that they would normally wouldn’t be able to on HBO. Younger boxing crowds may not have the ability to get HBO and Showtime. However, because technology is vastly improving, and makes and impact on how people watch their programming, having ESPN or FS1 is much easier for younger fans to obtain. Which is why UFC has been able to grasp the attention of young fans, that are interested in combat sports.

Before John Skipper left ESPN, who was the president of ESPN, people around him and the big guys on ESPN were on board with what Top Rank was selling them. For years, ESPN had Friday Night Fights, which was the minor league baseball version of boxing. However, Al Haymon used ESPN as one its network to use its time buys. Unfortunately, a deal with PBC and ESPN wasn’t able to fruition.

Top Rank, with its young stars, promising prospects, with ability to have good hall of fame match makers in Brad Goodman and Bruce Trampler, along with their library of great past fights, was able to away ESPN to have a 4 year deal. All Top Rank has to do now is deliver with good fights. ESPN’s OTT steaming service will only make it better for their fans. Despite being only half a year in their deal, Todd Duboef mentions how to brass at ESPN already are thrilled with the products and ratings. Consistency needs to be main key to make this partnership successful.

Starting off the 2018 year, it appears that Showtime will again start off the better content and quality of fights compared to HBO. Yes, HBO does fair off better in the fall schedule, while Showtime begins to hibernate. But this sort of competition would’ve never been talked about 5 years ago. Despite having lower viewers due to less subscribes, Showtime is winning fans with putting out better quality of fights, and being technologically more advanced on how they produce their content. HBO isn’t the juggernaut it once was, and it would behoove promoters to not entirely rely on HBO primarily as their number one outlet for boxing.