HBO Is Getting Out of The Boxing Business After 45 Years

Which HBO fight was your favorite?

mike tyson trevor berbick
(Photo: Getty)

Gennady Golovkin punches Canelo Alvarez during their WBC/WBA middleweight title rematch at T-Mobile Arena on September 15 in Las Vegas. 

After 45 years of broadcasting boxing’s biggest fights, HBO announced Thursday that it will no longer cover the Sweet Science after this October. 

A statement released by HBO and published by Yahoo reads, “Boxing has been part of our heritage for decades. During that time, the sport has undergone a transformation. It is now widely available on a host of networks and streaming services.” 

“Going forward in 2019, we will be pivoting away from programming live boxing on HBO. As always, we will remain open to looking at events that fit our programming mix. This could include boxing, just not for the foreseeable future.”

A middleweight title bout between Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko at Madison Square Garden on October 27 will be the last live fight HBO airs.

The New York Times was the first outlet to report the news and obtained a statement from Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports. 

“This is not a subjective decision,” Nelson said. “Our audience research informs us that boxing is no longer a determinant factor for subscribing to HBO.”

Fans who have watched everything from Buster Douglas’ legendary knockout of Mike Tyson to Gennady Golovkin’s controversial loss to Canelo Alvarez in their recent rematch reacted on Twitter: 

Boxing fan site Bad Left Hook kept its chin up in a post about the shocking development:

HBO Boxing began in 1973 with George Foreman’s destruction of Joe Frazier, and in all has hosted more than 1,000 fights. Beyond the cards themselves, it hosted regular boxing content, including The Fight Game with Jim Lampley and its 24/7 series.

The sport and this network have been inextricably linked for much longer than I’ve been alive, and it will be extremely strange to see it go.

We won’t be starved for content, at least. DAZN and ESPN+ are making strong inroads, and even Facebook is getting in on the action thanks to a partnership with Golden Boy and Main Events. The sport we love is still here, with plenty of pillars rising to take the newfound slack.

Meanwhile, it looks like HBO’s longtime pay cable rival, Showtime, has scored at TKO when it comes to broadcasting big fights going forward. 

Check out the network’s preview video of the upcoming Tyson Fury/Deontay Wilder December 1 pay-per-view heavyweight bout here: