When news first broke that Josesito Lopez landed the coveted assignment to face WBC jr. middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on September 15th, some fans scoffed at the idea of the matchup. After all, having just moved up in weight to defeat former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz, the idea of the naturally smaller Lopez moving up to 154 pounds to face Alvarez seemed far from the "history-making" event that Oscar De La Hoya has repeatedly promised. That was until reports began to surface that the September 15th event, which was originally slated to be televised on pay-per-view, could potentially be headed to CBS, bringing live boxing back to network television after well over a decade absence.
It was just 3 years ago when Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer vowed to get boxing back on network TV. "Everybody's telling me you can't get boxing back on network television," Schaefer would tell George Willis of the New York Post back in 2009. "I'm telling you I will get boxing back on network television. Everybody else can try it, too. Be my guest. But I want to get back on network television and everybody is going to say, 'I can't believe what Richard is doing.' Some time in the next 12 months it's going to be on network television, I really think so."
While promoters like Bob Arum and Don King have previously discussed the need for boxing to make its return to network television, talk is cheap, and thus far, Kathy Duva and Main Events have made the only real effort to get boxing back on network television, having signed a two-year extension of the "Fight Night" series that will air at least five events on NBC for the next 2 years, the first of which is tentatively scheduled to take place on December 22nd. Golden Boy Promotions, however, looked like they were taking the next step with their September 15th card. In fact, sources tell us that the deal to get the event televised on CBS was the only real hold-up to announcing Canelo's opponent. Unfortunately, according to reports, Golden Boy could not finalize that deal.
The move could have had a serious impact on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez pay-per-view card, which will be going head-to-head with Alvarez vs. Lopez on the same night and in the same city. While diehard fans may prefer to shell out $59.99 for a bout that, up until recently, some considered to be a mismatch, you have to wonder just how many casual fans would have been willing to make the same sacrifice if there was a free event taking place on their local CBS affiliate. To be fair, many diehard fans may consider Alvarez vs. Lopez to be a far greater mismatch than Chavez Jr. vs. Martinez, but again, with one being free and the other costing $59.99, the question remains, which one would the casual fans, particularly the Mexican fans, prefer to watch on Mexican Independence Day? Unfortunately for Golden Boy Promotions, they'll never find out. It's looking like Golden Boy will instead be airing a tripleheader on showtime, featuring Alvarez vs. Lopez, Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon, and a heavyweight matchup between Seth Mitchell and Johnathan Banks. Still, you can't help but wonder how Golden Boy's September 15th event will impact the Top Rank pay-per-view card.