Often in war, there are grave consequences to actions. Innocent bystanders are hurt, civilians are distraught, and the neutral powers that are big enough to make a difference and close enough to the situation are forced to choose sides. The Cold War of boxing between Golden Boy and Top Rank exploded earlier today, involving the two biggest broadcasters of boxing, and showing the boxing world that this war is far from over. In fact, it may just be the beginning.
Earlier today, HBO announced that it is cutting ties with Golden Boy Promotions and will no longer be buying any of their fights. The boxing world was shaken by this huge announcement that has inevitably put Golden Boy/Showtime up against Top Rank/HBO. This is no longer a promotional war, it’s not just a television war, this is a world war in the boxing world. Everyone will be effected by this from the top to the bottom. The innocent bystanders are the fighters who now will be forced to choose sides as contracts expire and for the new fighters that are looking to sign with a promotional company. The civilians are the fans, so that no matter who is winning the war, they are the ones that feel the effects of it whether they are good or bad. This is what war is, utter chaos.
So what does this announcement mean for boxing? Well, right now, absolutely nothing. Yes. Despite the huge uproar in the boxing world at the hearing of this publication, despite the world war that is happening, right now nothing is going to change for the fans. Golden Boy was already using Showtime to promote most of their fights and they were already not fighting Top Rank fighters. Top Rank was already using HBO for most of their fights and Bob Arum was using other promotional companies to place his fighters against as well as his own. We were never going to see Broner-Rios, Donaire-Mares, and many other fights that we wanted to see regardless of whether or not it was on Showtime or HBO. Both Golden Boy and Top Rank already have their fight plans mapped out for the rest of the year without needing each other to make big fights. As of right now, nothing is going to change. The only headache falls on the promoters and networks to reschedule a few things that they weren’t ready for. But for the fans, nothing is going to change yet.
Eventually though, if this continues, we will start to see the effects of this political standoff. First and foremost in a hypothetical scenario we have the first issue coming up next month. Adrien Broner. Broner is rumored to have a contract up next month with Golden Boy. I'm not sure how true this is. But for fun and games, let's say that this is true. Let's pretend that Adrien Broner's contract is going to run out next month. Now most likely he would stay with Haymon and Golden Boy. However, if he were to look outside the box, he finds himself to be the first soldier of the war to make a huge decision. If Broner wants to explore the idea of going with Top Rank he would have some unique questions to answer, questions that no other fighter in the past has been forced to answer. Which fights are the best for me and who has these guys? Top Rank has Marquez, Pacquiao, Bradley, and Rios. Golden Boy has Alexander, Mayweather, Guerrero, Matthysee, and Garcia. Ultimately, picking one company, means that he won’t get to fight the other guys as long as the war continues. It’s a decision that should not be. It’s a decision that is horrible for the sport of boxing. It’s even worse for the fans that don’t get to see the fights that they want. As fighters continue to think of their future they are going to have to think of these ridiculous scenarios as long as this goes on.
Often in war, when two powerhouses go head to head, there are other people that sit on the outside and benefit from the catastrophe. It will be no different here as Main Events, Dibella, and Gary Shaw will not partake in taking sides but will use this to their advantage to give their fighters exposure. Both companies will look to them for fighters to fill their cards, and rest assured they will be ready to help. It’s a huge opportunity for these outside promotional companies to take advantage of. And for someone like Broner, maybe looking towards an outside company wouldn’t be a bad idea. He would get the best of both worlds by being able to fight Top Rank and Golden Boy fighters.
Most likely, that would never happen. Someone like Broner knows the benefits of staying with Golden Boy or going to Top Rank. However if this war continues for a very long time other fighters may not be so hesitant to take the risk. It’s better to sit on the outside and get the perks of fighting fighters from both companies, than to be on the inside having to pick and choose between which opponents are ‘available’ regardless of whether they are the best or not. Whatever happens from here the one thing that can be certain is that the boxing world has just gotten a lot more interesting for the fans.