Golden Boy Promotions has partnered with Showtime and parent network CBS to air the professional debut of promising Olympic boxers this fall. The main CBS channel will air at least two separate fight cards, one in October and one in December, to showcase this young crop of hopeful boxing standouts.
In an official press release announcing the deal, Oscar De La Hoya noted how he can help young professionals coming from the Olympics due to his experience as a gold medal winning boxer at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer made it clear he also knows the kind of star-making platform that the Olympics and network television backing can provide. "It is a chance of a lifetime and a guaranteed career jumpstart for some of these fighters to be able to make their professional debuts in front of millions of viewers on the CBS television network," he said.
Apparently Golden Boy will be at the London Olympics scouting the ranks for which fighters they'd like to scoop up -- not that they are the only boxing promoters intently watching Olympic boxing, eager to sign up the next generation of stars.
One wonders, however, whether or not they already have behind-the-scenes deals with big name American prospects. Would CBS join this partnership if they didn't have some type of guarantee as to which fighters would end up on their broadcasts, or how many fighters Golden Boy would be bringing to the table?
At the least, this is a not so subtle push to sign the big name stars fresh out of the Olympics. Who would the fighters rather sign with, than the team that will get their professional debuts televised on CBS?
For fight fans, this is a hugely positive moment. Boxing is heading back to network television, and you have to hope it's just the start of something bigger. It's also the most noteworthy splash in a string of recent developments for boxing on television, including the already successful Fight Night series on the NBC Sports Network.
You also have to hope that some of the Team USA Olympic boxers bring home medals and get an early start in making a name for themselves at London.
We're a long ways off from the instant mega-stardom of fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard, but a start is a start, and I'll certainly be tuning in this fall to watch boxing on CBS.
Sources: Golden Boy Press Release, BadLeftHook.com
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, along with interviews, rankings and breaking news stories at the site, or you can follow ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.
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