Some of the most notable fighters in boxing want to help improve the sport’s business model.
With the news on Tuesday that Showtime, the premium cable network that has showcased boxing since 1986, will no longer be broadcasting the sport after the end of the year, prominent fighters such as junior welterweight star Ryan Garcia and undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford took to social media to voice their desire to reinvent the way boxing is distributed to the masses.
Paramount Global, the parent company of Showtime (as well as BoxingScene.com), based its decision to cut boxing out of a desire to focus on original scripted programming that will drive subscriptions.
Showtime now follows in the steps of its corporate rival, HBO, which exited the sport five years ago. For years, HBO and Showtime were the twin pillars on which boxing rested.
Showtime’s ensuing exit prompted a flurry of concerned remarks from fighters, especially from Garcia and Crawford.
“Today is a really important day for boxing,” Garcia wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “HBO and Showtime defined our sport for a generation and now they are both out. All us boxers need to make this our collective fight. We gotta be thinking about marketing, new audiences, investors, global, all of it. Boxing is still the greatest sport in the world. We just gotta reimagine it.”
“I couldn’t agree more @RyanGarcia,” Crawford responded. “The system we have isn’t going to fix this. We gotta think different. Look at every other sport is building empires by doing it right. Us fighters need to come together. We can fight in the ring but work together for our sport and our families.”
“100% let’s do something,” Garcia responded.
Chiming into the discussion was YouTube-turned-boxer Jake Paul, who offered to help as well.
“I’m all the way in” Paul said.
Elsewhere, Teofimo Lopez, the former unified lightweight champion and current junior welterweight titlist, also voiced his desire to help improve the business aspect of boxing.
“I’ve been quiet too long,” Lopez wrote. “I love Boxing and will find more ways to help the next generation of our beloved sport we call ‘Boxing.’”
Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar De La Hoya also offered his thoughts on Showtime’s departure.
“I salute Showtime for their near-40 year commitment to the sport that I love,” De La Hoya wrote. “I am hopeful that we promoters can use this unfortunate situation to put our differences aside and start working together more often to help make more of the bigger fights and grow our sport.”
But Crawford was quick to check the promoter, saying any vision of the future of the sport would require fighters to be intimately involved in the business aspects.
“Respectfully @OscarDeLaHoya if the boxers aren’t at the table, it isn’t going to work,” Crawford responded.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.