Boxing week in New York City as HBO and Showtime share the attention

By Rich Mancuso

Wednesday afternoon at B.B.King Blues Club in Times Square Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said there was respect with him and the Mayweather family. He made the comment before introducing trainer Roger Mayweather the uncle of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

That warranted some interest, however it was all about Mayweather training two-time champion Joseph Agbeko for his Saturday evening HBO title bout against super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Thursday afternoon, Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime get their chance in New York with their final press conference for their Saturday evening card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. That card is highlighted with hometown products Paulie Malignaggi opposing Zab Judah, IBF champion Devon Alexander, WBA interim super welterweight title holder Erislandy Lara and WBC Super middleweight champion Sakio Bika.

The two major boxing promotions, once again holding opposing championship cards on the same night, and it has been a boxing paradise for fans in the vicinity of New York City.

Arum said, the card down the Garden State Parkway, in the Boardwalk Hall Adrian Phillip ballroom, is close to a sell-out. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy will say sell-out Thursday, that is, if he presides over their final press conference. Though, as has been the case with Golden Boy Barclay Center boxing cards, there is rarely a sell-out and last report was tickets were going slow.

Regardless, as boxing winds down an exciting year, it is good to see the prime promoters in the industry conclude with opposing show in proximity of each other.

Arum had looked into booking his card at Madison Square Garden, the adjacent theatre, before booking Boardwalk Hall. He always conceives New York as the “Mecca” when staging champions representing his Top Rank banner.  But, tax structures and other particulars tend to shy him away from New York and MSG. Atlantic City, with the casino atmosphere and better tax structure has also become the other and successful option when not staging successful fight cards in Las Vegas.

 The offices of Top Rank are in Las Vegas since their move out of New York in the mid 1980’s, and the state of Texas, with a predominant Latino population is also a successful site for Top Rank championship fights. And as we know now, Arum is venturing overseas.

 Last week Manny Pacquiao had a dominating title win over Brandon Rios in Macau China, though reportedly his next fight on April 12th will be in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Arena with an opponent to be named in the next few weeks.

 So what does this all mean? Nothing, though opposing shows by the two main promotions on the HBO and Showtime networks that are in proximity of each other continues this promotional “Cold” war with Top Rank and Golden Boy.

And as much as this is good for the sport, it can be a hardship for the fans viewing and wanting to attend good and respectable championship fights. There is no doubt that New York City was on the winning side this week with press conferences, open workouts with the fighters, and plenty of storylines.

The traditionalist and old school train of thought leads to competition being good for the sport, though one show at a time. Because in boxing it is either one too many or none at all, and fortunately since September the boxing fan has been treated to a good main event every weekend on HBO, Showtime, or pay-per-view.

But the prevailing view here is watching Rigondeaux, a young and exciting champion from Cuba who is quickly becoming the newest superstar in the sport. Or, if things work out, by chance both main events will go off at different times. We should hope so because Malignaggi and Judah does have an interest and has the makings of a good fight.

What fight and telecast will you watch? Let us know here.

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