Following up on my first and second quarter reviews for the year of boxing in 2019. This article is pure fights no politics, (something not easy to find nowadays) not focused on pay-per-view compared to free television/basic cable or paid streaming/premium channel.
In the first quarter Fox/FS1 jumped out to a lead separating from the pack with a variety of quality matchups. DAZN’s late April all the way through Joshua/Ruiz in June was impressive for the second quarter. At the halfway mark Top Rank’s product on ESPN and Showtime Boxing were clearly 3rd and 4th place. Luckily for T.R., ESPN+ has at least delivered some big names and good fights from overseas.
Showtime’s serving of homecoming showcases was yet again in full swing during the summer months, possibly featuring Tank for a third time in the fourth quarter. They did lose a Claressa Shields fight to injury, which was postponed until October but got canceled due to an attack on her opponent’s trainer.
From the sounds of it Showtime has a string of events to announce at some point which could feature 2020 as well. Could it be Charlo vs. Harrison 2? We know Stephen Espinoza lost a battle for Wilder-Ortiz 2 to Fox PPV. As it stands SHO has a pretty good card even with the injuries sustained in Lubin-Gallimore and Easter-Granados late October. Recently official is Charlo-Hogan in December, along with one or two more ShoBox cards. Although, this podcaster is always happy with the steady stream of ShoBox: The New Generation, it doesn’t make up for a garbage year in 2019 for Showtime after a fantastic run from 2016-18.
Regular ESPN has been poor to say the least in 2019. ESPN+ has delivered to an extent, with Lomachenko vs. Crolla, Kovalev vs. Yarde, and a better than expected Tyson Fury opponent. Arguably ESPN’s best matchup of the Top Rank deal is coming up this Friday between Gvozdyk and Beterbiev. Also, Shakur Stevenson stepping up versus Joet Gonzalez, as well as Teofimo Lopez vs. Richard Commey standout to close the year.
DAZN’s third quarter brought us a spirited scrap in Jose Ramirez vs. Maurice Hooker. Ronny Rios knocked out Diego De La Hoya in a minor upset and Vergil Ortiz passed his test with flying colors against Antonio Orozco. Obviously the next few months are very impressive for DAZN with Canelo vs. Kovalev and Ruiz vs. Joshua 2, along with Taylor vs. Prograis and Briedis vs. Dorticos as part of the World Boxing Super Series. And we can’t forget Golovkin vs. Derevyanckenko surpassed all expectations.
As far as the third quarter goes, it was a landslide for FOX Sports, headlined by Pacquiao vs. Thurman and Spence vs. Porter. Add in James-DeMarco, Kownacki-Arreola, Angulo-Quillin, and Jean Pascal’s shocking upset of Marcus Browne. And we didn’t even mention the solid undercards for both Fox PPV cards. Based off Fox/FS1 only having two or three slots left, could Showtime be taking the lead for PBC in the fourth quarter? The only high profile matchup with Fox is a PPV for the Wilder-Ortiz rematch.
FOX blew away the competition in the summer for the third quarter and this Fall; DAZN has the best bouts to end the year far and away. Let’s hope Showtime/Fox adds more interesting fights to the schedule and some of ESPN’s ‘good’ bouts on paper turnout to be great.