Momentum can be described as a continuous succession of positive energy. It builds… and when it continues to build, great things happen. No one entity in the boxing world had more momentum going into 2014 than Showtime. Coming off one of the most impressive years in probably a decade, Showtime Boxing positioned itself to give HBO a legitimate run for the money.
The crown was there for the taking, especially in the midst of a cold war that has seen HBO refusing to do business with Golden Boy Promotions. Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president of Showtime Sports, took advantage of the situation in 2013 and put Showtime in a position to take the throne.
Unfortunately, Showtime has been unable to build upon its momentum with a extremely lackluster 2014, hampered by an abundance of “showcase” fights (mismatches to make the A-side fighter look good).
Half the year is nearly over, and it’s safe to say that Showtime has not “showcased” one legitimate major bout. This coming off of a year with match-ups such as Canelo-Trout, Garcia-Judah, Mayweather-Canelo, Garcia-Matthysse and finishing the year with Broner-Maidana.
If it weren’t for the surprisingly competitive Mayweather-Maidana, this first half of the year would be a complete disaster… and that fight was considered a pre-fight mismatch (Floyd was a 12/1 favorite).
The Golden Boy Promotions marriage with Showtime Boxing was supposed to breathe new life into the sport. A coupling of a young hungry premium cable powerhouse with a stable of fighters so deep, that you could match-make great fights with your eyes closed. But that’s the issue… the matchmaking is suffering due to a new model of business influenced by boxing’s new tyrant Al Haymon.
My point couldn’t be more evident than with the newly announced Showtime card on August 9th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. A card that will be headlined by Danny “Swift” Garcia facing off against… Rod Salka?? Well, at least we get Daniel Jacobs on the undercard against… Jarrod Fletcher?? The co-feature on the card… the highly anticipated matchup between Lamont Peterson and… Edgar Santana??
My sarcasm mirrors my enthusiasm… and this card is a reflection of what Showtime has become; Showcase-time.
It’s more than this one card… it’s a trend. Danny Garcia is coming off of the biggest year of his life with career defining victories over Zab Judah and Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse. No other fighter entered 2014 with more momentum than Danny “Swift” and the prognosis was an inevitable match-up with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The marketing plan was decent… have Danny fight in Puerto Rico to gain a backing from the foundation of his heritage. Pure showcase fight… but that’s okay, because it was leading to something big. But why would you put him in the ring with Mauricio Herrera? A fighter NO ONE looks good against. It’s almost like they forgot the true meaning of a showcase fight. To SHOWCASE the fighter. The result… buzz gone. The aftermath…. Danny “Swift” went from a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to a clash with Rod Salka.
It doesn’t stop there… Lamont Peterson is coming off a big win over Dierry Jean after a crushing defeat to Lucas Matthysse. Instead of building off his big win and matching him up with an Adrien Broner or even Danny Garcia… they decide to put him in the ring with a 35 year old fighter who’s ranked #11 by the WBA. Makes perfect sense.
Luckily, Showtime has Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara on July 12th and with the “Cold War” thawing, there may be some intriguing matchup possibilities by year’s end… but that wasn’t the issue for Showtime or Golden Boy Promotions. They have the fighters…. the matchmaking is what’s lacking.
The logical thought is that this year of showcasing will lead to a magnificent 2015… or…. Is this the beginning of a new era in boxing? An era where fighters look to make as much money as possible with the least amount of risk. As a fight fan, I’m praying it’s not the latter. Only time will tell.
-Follow me on Twitter @RLMalpica