If you are an HBO fan you are at least tangentially aware that HBO broadcasts boxing matches. What you may not be aware of is that HBO is the pinnacle of the sport, showcasing virtually all of the top fighters and fights and has been doing so for more than 30 years. The fight game can be extremely simple, a contest of wills between two individuals to see who can hit the other more with their fists. At the same time the sport can be densely rich with personalities, back stories and politics that rival Game of Thrones. Welcome the the fall HBO boxing preview!
October 18th – Triple G vs Rubio and Donaire vs Walters
If you haven’t seen much boxing before, this weekend you will see what is guaranteed to be a highly entertaining set of fights. On Saturday night starting at 10pm Eastern and Pacific, HBO brings you a stellar doubleheader that fight fans are extremely excited about. The first match of the night is a 50-50 featherweight title fight between Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire against Jamaican Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters. Donaire has been on the network for years but seems to be facing the end of his prime while Walters respected and feared but little known to American audiences. Look for this fight to end by a knockout before the end of the scheduled 12 rounds.
The main event on Saturday night stars Triple G, Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin(pictured) facing Mexican warhorse Marco Antonio Rubio. Take it from me, Triple G is a bad man in the ring. He is undefeated and has knocked out every opponent he has faced for the last six years and looks to do the same in California on Saturday against the rugged journeyman Rubio. Don’t forget to watch Triple G’s always hilarious and charming post-fight interview where he will surely coin yet another turn of phrase you’ll be hearing from boxing fans until his next fight.
November 8th – Bernard Hopkins vs Sergey Kovalev and Abregu vs Ali
Hopkins at 49 is known as “The Professor,” “The Execution” and “The Alien.” There is definitely something strange about his ability to fight top fighters 20 years younger than him and take them to school. He’s facing an extremely dangerous test in Sergey Kovalev (pictured). Kovalev, aka “The Krusher” has been brutally knocking out his opponents on HBO for the last few years. His power is so great that it has left previous opponents in grave circumstances. This is probably the best fight on the calendar for the rest of the year.
Abregu vs Ali is also a very well-matched fight. Abregu is an fearsome Argentine that most other welterweights want no part of. Ali is getting his biggest opportunity to date and will attempt to make his mark and stay on HBO after this fight. I expect Abregu to handle business and get the win but if Ali can be competitive and entertaining, he could be brought back if there is any justice. Remember this is boxing so there often isn’t. The bout plays at 10:45pm.
November 22nd – Pacquiao vs Algieri on Pay Per View
Pacquiao is a living legend and on paper this looks like a difficult style match up. Algieri last fought and defeated central Asian warrior Ruslan Provodnikov in a controversial decision so he has the skills to handle the kind of savage aggression Pacquiao made his name on. Pacquiao is no Provodnikov so Chris should enjoy the view from the top now as Pacquiao looks to send him back to obscurity. Of course Algieri just signed with Nike which is quite amazing for a fighter with such a small public profile. You could pay $70 and see if Nike made a good decision, or wait a week and find out on regular HBO.
November 29th – Crawford vs Beltran
The Saturday after Thanksgiving provides a treat for fans with Terence Crawford returning to the scene of his fight of the year candidate in June against Yuriorkis Gamboa. Omaha, Nebraska is the co-star of the show as the fans there will be loud and rowdy watching their hometown champion face a talented, if weathered Ray Beltran.
December 6th – Boxing After Dark
This date was supposed to showcase Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’ return to HBO but he will instead sit out until facing Miguel Cotto for the middleweight title. Instead this card is currently not set but expect to see boxing on HBO on this date.
December 13th – Bradley vs Chavez
Timothy Bradley is coming off his decision loss to Manny Pacquiao last spring and will be facing Diego Chavez who was last seen getting disqualified for absolutely no reason in an ugly fight against Brandon Rios. Chavez knows he needs to look good here to stay relevant at the highest level. Historically Bradley makes fighters look bad but has been known to get in a brawl when he wants to. He doesn’t want to on December 13th.
December 20th – Rios vs Alvarado III
This is tentatively scheduled and may shift to January but whenever it does happen, expect another fight of the year candidate just like their previous two bouts. These guys (pictured) don’t know how to be in a bad fight and while the skills are heavily tilted toward offense, the real battle here is about mental toughness.
Phew! HBO is coming on strong for the next three months with fights on almost every Saturday night. Whether you watch them live or check them out on HBOGO the day after, every one of these events is boxing at its highest level. This run of fights is likely to yield an excellent finish to an otherwise mediocre year for the sport. Big changes are afoot across the boxing landscape and if you’ve ever wondered if you have a taste for bloodsport, check out these fights and find out.