The internet has turned the media landscape upside down, with countless people cutting the cord on traditional TV and moving over to online subscription services and / or pirating. That’s caused a ripple effect that’s changed the way we watch combat sports as well. “Canelo” Alvarez recently signed a blockbuster $365 million deal with sports streaming outlet DAZN, and then there’s the UFC, which is being paid $750 million to deliver 15 events a year for five years to ESPN’s online offering, ESPN+.
But not all the media subscription services out there are making big plays on sports. HBO is doing the opposite, shutting down their long running HBO Boxing division to focus their effort on original dramatic content. Last night marked the final boxing event on the channel, and it was a pretty underwhelming affair headlined by unified welterweight champ Cecilia Braekhus vs. Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes. As expected, Braekhus coasted to victory, winning all 10 rounds on two judges’ scorecards in front of a very thin crowd.
While the fights themselves were fairly lackluster, there were some truly heartfelt moments throughout the broadcast as HBO Boxing flexed their always impressive promo muscles. Both the opening and closing montages took us on a journey through some of the highlights and historic moments carried on the network over the decades. You can watch those above.
Jim Lampley's final sign-off on HBO's last ever boxing broadcast. The voice of the sport for generations. pic.twitter.com/ocu64KLARy— Ronan Mullen (@RonanReigns) December 9, 2018
Commentators Jim Lampley, Roy Jones Jr., and Max Kellerman all struggled to hold back tears as they thanked HBO for supporting the sport for decades and paid tribute to the athletes who put everything on the line for money, fame, and glory. Take a listen and tell us you didn’t get a little misty eyed too.
The end of boxing at HBO may have been anti-climactic, but the effect HBO Boxing had on countless fight fans and the sport over the decades can’t be overstated. 1111 fights over 45 years. So long, HBO, and thanks for the memories.