Victor Ortiz's unexpected loss to Josesito Lopez on Saturday night sent Golden Boy promotions scrambling to salvage the set-aside September 15th pay-per-view date for their young Mexican star, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
With Ortiz removed from his scheduled bout with Alvarez on Mexico's Independence Day, the promotional firm is now mulling over other possible opponents and even talking about pulling the show from PPV, altogether, in favor of CBS.
"What Golden Boy believes is we don't do PPVs when they are not PPV worthy because that is taking advantage of fight fans. But having said that, if one of those opponents we are thinking about can in fact come through, it will be a very, very big PPV," Golden BOY CEO Richard Schaefer told Boxingscene.
"Now if that doesn't happen," Schaefer continued, "we are looking at the two other names, two other options. And those fights will be either live on Showtime or, and hold on to you seats because it's true what I'm about to tell you now; live on CBS - network television."
Boxing's return to free network TV would be the most welcomed news coming from the sport in a very long time. Especially promising is the fact that Alvarez is a 21-year-old star (He'll be 22 in July) and the exposure could build him into the sport's cash cow heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Along the way, there would be many opportunities for the young boxer to bring up a cast of supporting characters around him.
One can't help but feel that the popular Mexican star would do quite well in terms of TV ratings, pretty much dominating the Latino demographic and attracting a TV-hungry boxing fan base as well as a fair share of curious casual observers.
Canelo on CBS is good news for boxing in general, but Top Rank Promotions, which has scheduled its Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez pay-per-view for the same date, has to be on pins and needles.
While it's likely that Canelo against a still unknown opponent won't be as big a fight among hardcore fans as Chavez-Martinez, a CBS airing of Canelo's fight at the same time could turn the Top Rank PPV show into a financial non-entity.
Of course, none of this is a done deal and both competing shows are still in the early planning stages. It could be that Schaefer is doing some promotional hyperbole to spin Saturday's disappointing upset into something perceived as positive. Even Top Rank, which has been doing massive pre-promotion of their own September 15th show has yet to actually negotiate a signed deal between Chavez Jr. and Martinez. Things could be very different for both promotional companies by the time the date in question rolls around.
Still, hope springs eternal in the minds of boxing fans and the talk of a return to free network TV is tremendous news, even if it comes at the expense of a promising Top Rank PPV card.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Luis Sandoval, Schaefer: Canelo Still Fighting on 9/15, CBS is Possible, Boxingscene