Opinion: Cotto, Roc Nation, and HBO give boxing fans the middle finger
By Hector Franco
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December 15, 2016
It’s been made official this week that Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) will make his return to the boxing ring this upcoming February. He will face the consistently inconsistent, James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs). The fight will take place at The Ford Center in Frisco, Texas a training facility for the NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys. It will be televised on HBO pay-per-view (PPV) leaving many fans and pundits dumbfounded as to how this fight ended up on PPV.
It starts with Miguel Cotto and Roc Nation. Roc Nation first signed Cotto in 2014 to a lucrative 3-fight contract. This contract guaranteed the Puerto Rican upwards of $50 million putting Roc Nation in a bad position. They would likely be taking a loss financially each time Cotto steps inside the ring under their banner. Cotto missed all of 2016, as he was unable to secure an opponent. Now that Cotto and Roc Nation have an opponent there only option to make sure that they can pay Cotto his guarantee is to take the fight to PPV.
HBO has shown a majority of Cotto’s fights for over ten years and they made the decision to broadcast the Cotto-Kirkland PPV. There are two positives to this development. The first is that with Cotto-Kirkland being on PPV it will not take away from HBO’s overall boxing budget. It will supposedly enable HBO to showcase more fighters on the network for their Championship boxing series. The second is that HBO’s production is top notch and those who decide to spend their money on the PPV will likely get a decent broadcast. Roc Nation hasn’t produced their own PPV and with that inexperience, it would likely be a disaster.
One of the problems that fans have with HBO and this PPV is that as of now there is only one card that has been announced for 2017. That card is one that will feature WBC 130-pound champion Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura in fights against opponents who are not one another. It won’t matter if it’s going to save HBO money by having Cotto-Kirkland on PPV if series’ like Boxing after Dark and Championship Boxing are not being utilized. Fans aren’t getting any yearly dividend checks from HBO and should demand that they get their money’s worth for their subscription.
Ideally, a PPV fight should be a big event and warrant fans having to pay a little extra. This, however, has not been the case for years as fights like Oscar De La Hoya vs. Yory Boy Campas were also on PPV. It could be argued that Cotto-Kirkland is even worse now that it's come out that there will be a catchweight of 153-pounds for the fight. The cherry on top is that Cotto-Kirkland could be just one of four potential PPV’s that HBO may put on in the first half of 2017.
HBO has more subscribers that generate higher television ratings than its competitor, Showtime. But Showtime has shown a higher commitment to the sport of boxing as of late. Clearly, Cotto, Roc Nation, and HBO couldn’t care less about their fan base. On February 25, 2017, they should give them the proverbial middle finger and skip the PPV entirely.
(Featured Photo: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images)