What was one of the most anticipated early dates in boxing this year is now an afterthought.
With the main event of the March 12 Showtime on CBS card, the title fight between World Boxing Association welterweight champion Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, postponed due to injuries suffered by Thurman in a car accident last week the network along with power broker Al Haymon have decided to scrap the whole card.
When news of Thurman’s injury and postponement if his fight with Porter came, Showtime considered keeping the date as a triple-header with World Boxing Council featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. headlining on their airwaves rather that on their parent network, CBS, as was initially planned. Now Russell Jr. along with featherweight Abner Mares and light heavyweight Edwin Rodriguez, who were also on the card and are Haymon clients, will have their bouts moved to undetermined future dates.
As for Thurman and Porter, both coming off long layoffs, neither can take an interim fight in the meantime unless the other side approves it according to the fight contract. The only certainty is that the fight when it’s rescheduled won’t be held al the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT.
The cancellation of the card is a blow to all parties involved.
When it was announced that the card would be billed as Showtime on CBS instead of Premier Boxing Champions it served as a confirmation of the money issues Haymon is alleged to have with the PBC. With Showtime still paying the licensing fees for the card despite airing it on broadcast television Haymon wasn’t completely on the hook for the fighter purses. Now he will have three of the four fights on the card moved to the PBC where he will be responsible for the purses.
For Showtime, it takes away a date from an already this schedule. With rival network HBO having two Pay-Per-View dates before June and two more possible dates before the end of the year as opposed to their empty slate, Showtime needs as many non-prospect fights as it can get. The network is being hurt as a result of having become over reliant on Haymon to provide fights. Unless Showtime starts showing real interest in working with other promoters such as Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya the situation is not likely to change.
The biggest hit though will be on both Thurman and Porter. Neither man has been in the ring since the middle of 2015 as they have circled each other as their next opponent. The fight was initially slated for last December but various delays pushed it to March 12. Now the fight will likely take place around May or June having the layoff for each man be close to a year. With other possible big fights against WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia, International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Kell Brook, or even Floyd Mayweather on the horizon for the victor, this stall is something neither man can afford.