For the last year, HBO has watched as Golden Boy Promotions has moved many of its top fighters from HBO to Showtime. On Monday, HBO struck back: The network announced that it would no longer buy any fights from Golden Boy Promotions.
“In order to achieve our goal of the best fighters in the most compelling matchups we’ve decided to focus our efforts and resources on those strategic relationships where we better share common goals and business philosophies,” HBO Sports President Ken Hershman said in a statement.
The decision is a decisive move from HBO to strike back at Golden Boy. Since Stephen Espinoza — a former Golden Boy attorney — took over as the head of the sports department at Showtime, Golden Boy has pulled several of its top fighters including Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Canelo Alavarez and Andre Berto off of HBO and onto Showtime. Last month, Floyd Mayweather — who works closely with Golden Boy —announced he was leaving HBO, his broadcast partner for virtually his entire career, to sign a lucrative deal with Showtime.
Among the casualties of HBO’s decision is Adrien Broner, a rising star who has been a staple on HBO. HBO sources made it clear that it was nothing against Broner, but they will not put him on the network as long as Golden Boy represents him. Likewise for Bernard Hopkins, a longtime HBO fighter who last week became the oldest man to win a major title when he defeated Tavoris Cloud on HBO.
The decision to stop doing business with Golden Boy is being called indefinite.
Golden Boy CEO called the decision “retaliation” and “ill advised.”
I’m not really surprised,” Schaefer told SI.com. “I have not had a conversation with Ken Hershman since last November or December. They are upset at me, I’m sure they are upset at Al Haymon. But the ones getting hurt are the subscribers. Whether you like Golden Boy or you don’t, our stable is second to none. I wished them well. (HBO Vice President) Kery Davis, (VP) Mart Taffet, (CEO) Richard Plepler, I consider them friends. But there are people making decisions in the HBO sports department that don’t know the difference between Floyd Mayweather and Jessie Vargas.”
— Chris Mannix