SBD/Issue 204/Sports Media

HBO No Longer Planning To Air Heavyweight Boxing Title Bouts

HBO To Stop Airing Heavyweight Title Bouts
Due To Dearth Of American Contenders

HBO "delivered a body blow to boxing" by announcing that it "would be withdrawing any plans to screen heavyweight title fights," according to Gareth Davies of the London TELEGRAPH. HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg said that the decision was due to the "paucity of credible American heavyweights." Greenburg: "We're out of the heavyweight division. There isn't any interest in the U.S." Davies writes the U.S. public appears "to have lost interest in a division which once [spilled] over with larger than life athletic giants who became world stars." Top Rank Chair Bob Arum said that it is "about the characters." Arum: "If the heavyweight champion of the world was LeBron James or Michael Jordan, heavyweight boxing would be flying high" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/8). Greenburg last week said, "The heavyweights have clearly lost their edge in the United States. I think we have enough stars in the lower weight divisions to get us through a down period for heavyweights. I think if we had a strong American heavyweight champion it would do wonders for American boxing, but it's just a dream at this point." Greenburg added that he "doesn't see any heavyweights HBO is interested in" other than a fight involving Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko and David Haye, "or one of those three against Tomasz Adamek." Greenburg: "Other than that, we'll take a pass. It would be great if the Klitschkos came over here and reignited some interest in this division" (ESPN.com, 7/2).

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