The Fourth of July weekend was as slow as it gets in the now over-scheduled boxing world we live in with the 3 major US players being Fox/Showtime, ESPN, and DAZN constantly competing head to head. Of course it’s smart not staging an event on an extended holiday-weekend, leaving the UFC to shine, which gives us time to review the second quarter of boxing.
In my first quarter recap the key ingredients for a better year were more meaningful or high profile matchups. Beyond the lack of ‘Super Fights’, 2019 has given us fans a plethora of mid-level contests along with several major and minor upsets. PBC on FOX Sports was well ahead after the first 3 months of the year, ESPN was out in front of Showtime, and DAZN was basically last or tied with Showtime at best. DAZN has left both Showtime and ESPN in the dust and with a great finish could catch Fox by the end of the year.
We knew DAZN would make a two-month run starting at the end of April with the Rungvisai-Estrada rematch and Alvarez-Jacobs. Munguia-Hogan and Roman-Doheny should be noted as well for late April. Although Canelo’s last outing increased subscriptions, Andy Ruiz’s stunning knockout of Anthony Joshua was huge exposure for DAZN in the short term. In June the WBSS Cruiserweight Semis were probably the best on paper but Soto-Acosta was highly entertaining, even with the controversial 12th round stoppage. We can’t turn a blind eye for the first 100+ days of the year but DAZN is probably offering the most bang for buck in the 2nd quarter, especially if Canelo fights someone credible.
Derevyanchenko vs. Culcay was the best fight for Fox in April because of the Quillin-Truax no contest and a dominant performance by Danny Garcia. In May one of the best fights of the year was Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams upset over Jarrett Hurd on Fox. Also, Trout-Gausha wasn’t the most tantalizing contest but it was competitive on paper and in the ring.
June saw a nice knockout by Ivan Redkach in a two-way fight against Devon Alexander on FS1. Unfortunately the June Fox main event rematch between Jermall Charlo and Tony Harrison was postponed but Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Ceja was nice surprise.
As it pertains to Top Rank on ESPN, Crawford and Lomachenko were in clear mismatches in April. Berchelt-Vargas 2 was action-packed and Jamal Herring’s victory over Ito was a nice story in May. In June, Warrington and Galahad fought to a razor close result and two Fridays ago ESPN’s doubleheader was not as exciting as Joe Tessitore would have you believe, but nonetheless it was interesting. Tyson Fury was in a complete farce of a showcase bout as well.
The disappointing year for Showtime continued in the 2nd quarter. Shields-Hammer was a standout on paper but the dreadfully disappointing Easter Jr. vs. Barthelemy closed out April. Deontay Wilder’s destructive knockout of Dominic Breazeale didn’t make up for an otherwise bare month. ShoBox is the most consistent product thus far for Showtime but that won’t cut it considering the amount of high-profile fights the network broadcasted from 2016-2018.
The 3rd quarter preview starts with the PBC on FOX featuring a 50-50 Pacquiao vs. Thurman PPV main event with a quality undercard to boot. Another welterweight clash, Spence-Porter, is penciled in for early Fall. Maybe we could even get Wilder-Ortiz 2 by September but it’s doubtful at this point. Kownacki-Arreola is a slobber-knocker waiting to happen in a Fox main event early August.
Kudos must be sent to Bob Arum for allowing Ramirez-Hooker on DAZN. Speaking of the junior welterweight division, Prograis-Taylor may be able to sneak into the third quarter as well. We might get a Canelo vs. GGG trilogy in September, according to Mike Coppinger claiming DAZN has approved Golovkin or Kovalev for opponents and Alvarez is still slated to fight during the Mexican Independence holiday, according Golden Boy Promotions CEO Eric Gomez. WBSS Cruiser Final Briedis-Dorticos will be a blast and Inoue-Donaire will at the very least entertain. From the sounds of it the Joshua-Ruiz rematch will take place in the fourth quarter but still a potentially nice slate of fights on paper.
Top Rank on ESPN doesn’t really have much to get excited about over the next few months. Lomachenko vs. Campbell in the UK, along with several prospect focused showcases to setup future fights just not in third quarter. Not eligible in this quarter, Terrence Crawford and Tyson Fury return in October, Kell Brook and Dillian Whyte are pipe dreams but would serve as more credible opposition than their last outings.
Rounding out the bottom of the barrel is Showtime with Gervonta Davis fighting in his hometown against a mandatory and a rumored fight between Adrien Broner and Lee Selby. Showtime head honcho Stephen Espinoza better hope he secures the rights for Wilder-Ortiz 2 and closes out the year with a big bang, otherwise is will be a worse year then 2015, which is saying a lot.
All and all when comparing the summer months to say 5-8 years ago, July and September are stacked with meaningful fights. Let’s hope we have a strong fourth quarter close to the boxing year.