New Top Rank TV deal in the US shows just how popular boxing is becoming once again and proves the sport is on the way back to prominence.
In recent years the term ‘boxing is dead’ was one that was alive and well again among the detractors of one of humanities’ most popular sports, historically.
Boxing has a funny old way of reinventing itself however.
If the first half of 2017 is anything to go by, it is arguably one of the very best years for the sweet science in many a year.
Despite being stricken with illness recently when I saw a certain bit of news come through regarding a significant TV deal on ESPN, I couldn’t help but smile.
Boxing promoting experts Top Rank had secured a deal that will see it’s premier fighter Manny Pacquiao box on the network on July 1st – when he takes on Jeff Horn in Australia.
It will also be shown on ESPN Deportes and the ESPN App.
Fellow US boxing promoter Golden Boy Promotions recently secured a deal with ESPN for their boxing content too, but it is understood that Top Rank will be showing many of their big stars on the network who would usually appear on PPV.
That in itself is awesome news for boxing fans.
The deal will show one of boxing legend Pacquiao’s fights for the first time on basic cable and not on a pay per view outlet since 2005.
It marks Top Rank Founder Bob Arum’s return to ESPN too, where the promoter had worked with the sports giant in the 80’s and 90’s previously.
It is widely regarded that ESPN is the biggest sports network on the face of the Earth today.
So, when they are making a commitment like this and when their own president John Skipper speaks of his excitement to have this type of boxing content on the network – you know boxing is sexy again.
It wasn’t long ago that the network cut back on it’s content in other sports like hockey for example.
So with further commitment to the noble art, any murmurings of ‘boxing is dead’ can well and truly take a proverbial hike.
Boxing has become a very global and international sport over the past decade, granted, but big announcements like this from the United States are always a welcome addition to this continued growth around the world.