For decades boxing fans had to endure endless amounts of Pay-Per View fights. Networks like HBO held the biggest fights on Earth, for a “small” fee of $75. Then Showtime joined the mix in 1986. Most of the time the fight wasn’t worth the price tag, especially in the 80’s when Mike Tyson overpowered the heavy weight division.
No matter how long the fight or the outcome, promoters cashed in on their star fighters. And fans were left wondering if boxing was worth it anymore, $75 is a big chunk of change, even today. Who would want to pay for an overhyped fight that either is boring or ends in the first round?
In 2015, NBC fixed that problem when they created Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). NBC signed the biggest names in boxing like; Shawn Porter, Danny Jacobs, and Keith Thurman. Some of the best fights of the mid-2010’s came from PBC. And the best part, it was free.
Boxing fans were finally able to watch their favorite fighters without digging into their pockets. PBC had a great run, for about two years and the return of boxing was on it’s way. Until everything started to change.
Streaming services started to take over the entertainment landscape, including sports. In 2016, a year after PBC launched, the service DAZN was created. DAZN is a streaming service for sport based out of England. In 2018, the service came to the United States and stole boxing. That same year DAZN signed Canelo Alvarez to a five-year, 11 fight deal that is estimated to be worth around $365M. And boxing’s return was slowly going away.
Again in 2018, ESPN+ started and like DAZN, they had boxing. But this time it was different. With ESPN+, not only did you have to buy the subscription, you also had to buy the fight. Fans of the sport were again, annoyed, and for good reason.
Premier Boxing Champions jumped on the Pay-Per View bandwagon, now most of their fights cost money. Gone were the days of free boxing, you can still find it but it’s not as easy. Networks like Showtime still offer free fights.
But if you want to watch the fights, you have to pay. During this time of streaming services taking over, HBO pulled out of boxing in December of 2018, ending their 45 years in the sport.
Boxing was alienating itself from the rest of the sports world. The sport was finally showing resurgence after years of darkness. But became overcome by waves of greed.