I believe boxing needs to get back on network TV to help the sport regain some of the luster and eyeballs that were lost post Ali, Tyson and De La Hoya. Many of the deal-makers in the game seem to agree, and in recent months we saw fights on CBS and NBC.
Golden Boy put on the CBS show and Main Events did the NBC show, and both companies' leaders seemed pleased with the results. Golden Boy's day-to-day leader, Richard Schaefer, talked about getting boxing to more viewers -- instead of being found solely behind the payrolls of pay-per-view, premium cable and basic cable -- on Wedneday at Barclays Center, during a presser to hype the Saturday Golden Boy/HBO show topped by a Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud main event.
Schaefer said he'd like to get more than one Floyd Mayweather fight on CBS, and brought up another fighter he thinks could draw well on the network. Heavyweight Deontay Wilder, an Alabama native and resident, would be a good fit on CBS, Schaefer said, especially if his bout was tied to, say, a 'Bama football game.
Schaefer took a mild shot at Main Events for how it chose to form an on-the-network event: "I don't mean to knock Main Events, but to just put guys on, bam ..."
Main Events presented a Tomasz Adamek-Steve Cunningham mainer in December, which actually did as well as the Golden Boy effort on CBS one week prior, headlined by Leo Santa Cruz. But Schaefer's point is that it makes the most sense to try and keep the audience, from a 'Bama football game, for example. Have them stay to watch an Alabama guy do his thing in the ring, and then maybe, if they watch a solid scrap, you have birthed a new boxing fan.
"We want to expose boxing to sports fans who haven't really watched boxing," Schaefer said.
Schaefer said he'd like match Wilder with vet Tony Thompson, who just dropped and stopped Brit prospect David Price.