Bob Arum goes off on Sky not showing Lomachenko vs. Teofimo in UK on Oct.17th
By Charles Brun: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is furious that none of the UK broadcasters like Sky Sports has purchased his October 17th lightweight unification match between WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko and IBF champ Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Arum doesn’t understand why none of the UK networks like BT Sport, Sky, or ITV has bothered to pick it up. According to Arum, he thinks the British networks are staying clear of the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight because they don’t have a way of monetizing it.
Arum feels that the networks in the UK have gotten used to charging boxing fans for fights that have no business being shown on pay-per-view. For example, the October 31st fight between Oleksander Usyk and Dereck Chisora should be on regular Sky, but the network offers it on pay-per-view.
Neither of these fighters is world champions, and yet Sky is till showing the fight on PPV. Chisora, 36, is a fringe contender bordering on journeyman status, and fans still have to pay to see him fight Usyk.
Arum brings up many good points about the UK broadcasters not picking up his fight between Lopez and Lomachenko. But maybe they’re more interested in putting on homegrown fighters like Jack Catterall, Chisora, and Joshua Buatsi that the UK public can rally behind rather than putting a fight on between two talents like Lomachenko and Teofimo in a battle that is guaranteed to entertain.
Instead of Arum banging his head against the wall wishing that the UK broadcasters were interested in putting on his great fights, he should just let them do whatever.
If they want to focus more on Usyk vs. Chisora and Dillian Whyte vs. 41-year-old Alexander Povetkin, they shouldn’t be bothered that they aren’t showing interest in putting on Lomachenko vs. Lopez.
UK networks won’t show Lomachenko vs. Teofimo fight
“I’m grateful for them putting this fight on,” said Bob Arum to IFL TV about the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight on October 17th. “Thanks to ESPN, which is putting up the money to pay the fighters, and they’re getting paid really well.
“Maybe not as well that they would have gotten if we had gates and that type of thing, but we don’t. I’m looking forward to the fight, and the boxing fans are looking forward to the fight.
“Of course, that’s without the UK, because I don’t think any of the television networks in the UK have bothered to buy that fight. It’s one thing for you to talk about what a great cracking fight it is and so forth.
“Where’s Sky, where’s BT, and where’s ITV? If it’s such a great fight, then how come nobody has bought it? None,” said Arum when asked if there has been any interest from a UK broadcaster to show the Lomachenko-Teofimo fight in the UK,” said Arum.
Well, it sounds like UK networks are focused on fights that make them a profit. If they feel that they won’t make a profit on the Teofimo vs. Lomachenko fight, then it makes sense for them not to show it.
Of course, it looks terrible when British boxing fans are paying for inferior fights like Dereck Chisora vs. Oleksandr Usyk, which involves two non-champions, and one of them is arguably a high-level journeyman fighter that was recently knocked out. That’s a bit much.
To put Chisora-Usyk on PPV right now during the pandemic, that’s a surprise. If Matchroom attempted to sell that fight to the US audiences, it would be an utter disaster.
Eddie Hearn is counting on Chisora’s boxing fans being willing to pay to see him fight a guy he has very little shot at beating in 33-year-old former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs).
It is a disappointment that Arum’s fight between Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) and the talented future star IBF champ Teofimo 15-0, 12 KOs) hasn’t been picked up by any of the UK broadcasters.
When you see all the less exciting fights shown to UK fans between domestic level fighters with little talent, and with slim chances of ever going on to world title honors, it makes you wonder if they have their priorities mixed up.
“Eddie’s junk goes on Sky”
“What does that tell you about the state of the sport? In the meanwhile, every bit of Eddie’s junk goes on Sky, and they make the poor fans to shell out money to watch all of this stuff,” Arum continued. “Is Usyk and Chisora a pay-per-view fight? Which world is it a pay-per-view fight?
“The networks in the UK are just taking money from boxing fans, and they’re not giving back. A fight between Usyk and Chisora may very well end up being a good fight that should be free on television.
“A television network [in the UK] that is doing boxing should buy a Lomachenko-Lopez fight, which is a classic lightweight championship for all four belts. If you’re into boxing, don’t turn it down because you’re not going to be able to monetize it.
“Because the networks that are involved with boxing are money-grubbers that just look to put on events where they can take money from the fans. Wake up! Why are all these fights on pay-per-view? Because it’s a money-grab,” said Arum.
Interestingly, Arum is labeling Hearn’s Matchroom cards as “junk” because he does have some good fights. I’m sure many boxing fans are second-guessing Hearn’s decision to place the battle between Chisora and Usyk on Sky Box Office.
Putting Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin I on Sky Box Office was an odd move as well, given that neither fighter were world champions at the time of the fight and still aren’t. Whyte doesn’t look like he’s capable of capturing a world title, so it’s hard for Charles Brun to imagine paying to see him fight.
His career has been a series of missteps in which he missed out on fighting in world title eliminators and led to him taking a lot longer to become the WBC mandatory. Whyte also could have fought Anthony Joshua for his world titles in 2019, but he opted to go in another direction with another fight against Chisora.
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