HBO to End Boxing Promotion After Oct. 27 Event

By Matt McNulty Sep 27, 2018
HBO says it’s no longer in the boxing business after 45 years of promoting some of the biggest fights in the sport’s history, the network announced on Thursday.

Having put on over 1,000 fights, beginning with George Foreman’s knockout of Joe Frazier in 1973, the network will discontinue its boxing promotion at the end of 2018. HBO has one final boxing broadcast scheduled for Oct. 27 at Madison Square Garden, which will feature a middleweight title fight.

In a statement sent to Sherdog, HBO detailed the difficult decision to sever ties with the Sweet Science:

“Boxing has been part of our heritage for decades. During that time, the sport has undergone a transformation. It is now widely available on a host of networks and streaming services. There is more boxing than ever being televised and distributed. In some cases, this programming is very good. But from an entertainment point of view, it's not unique.

Going forward in 2019, we will be pivoting away from programming live boxing on HBO. As always, we will remain open to looking at events that fit our programming mix. This could include boxing, just not for the foreseeable future.”

HBO’s four-and-a-half-decade relationship with boxing had an enormous impact on both the network and the sport. Here are just a few notable names, numbers and milestones from the storied legacy of HBO Boxing:

First telecast: Jan. 22, 1973, Frazier vs. Foreman, Kingston, Jamaica.
Total number of fights on HBO: 1,111
Years televising Boxing: 45
Feb. 3, 1996: HBO’s legendary “Boxing After Dark” debuted, broadcasting from Inglewood, California with a main event featuring Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Kennedy McKinney.

Boxers With The Most Appearances on HBO:
Roy Jones Jr. (32)
Oscar de la Hoya (32)
Shane Mosley (27)
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (27)
Manny Pacquiao (24)
Miguel Cotto (24)
Lennox Lewis (23)
Bernard Hopkins (23)
Wladimir Klitschko (22)
Arturo Gatti (21)
Pernell Whitaker (19)
Marco Antonio Barrera (19)
Mike Tyson (17)

HBO has seen unprecedented competition in the boxing world over the past few years, with rival network Showtime promoting the sport as well. With the advent of streaming services such as DAZN, which live streams MMA and boxing events worldwide, HBO’s once overwhelming influence on the sport has waned.

Just last month, ESPN signed a deal with Top Rank signed a deal to broadcast 54 boxing events. In contrast, HBO has hosted only 22 boxing events in 2018.


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