February 24, 2017
Lance Pugmire of the LA Times reports that the Showtime Boxing event Saturday night featuring Adrien Broner and Adrian Granados drew 779,000 viewers making it the best event on the network since the Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne fight in January 2015.
The event was held during Showtime’s free preview weekend although the free users are not included in the calculation, just the paid network subscribers.
The event also broadcast on twitter.
The fight peaked at 859,000 viewers.
A good showing by Showtime. Broner is coming back after nearly a year away from boxing and I wouldn’t consider him a big draw. Still, the event was the highest-rated event since 2015. Hopefully, this bodes well for the network as it ramps up for the big fight on March 4th with Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia on sister network CBS. The following week Showtime will headline a boxing event with Clarissa Shields.
February 17, 2017
Showtime Boxing will air its main event Saturday night on twitter featuring Adrien Broner and Adrian Granados. It’s the first-ever of its kind for the sport of boxing.
The event coincides with Showtime’s free preview weekend. The card will also be on Showtime this Saturday night at 6pm PT.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) February 17, 2017
This past fall, the NFL aired Thursday night football games on twitter as a method to expand its audience, fan engagement and future means for revenue. Since then, college football, college basketball, tennis and golf have all streamed on the social media platform.
The twitter stream could be the wave of the future for sports viewership. Also, twitter is finding ways to bolster its business. Despite its heavy use, it has not capitalized on turning it into an investment return. We will see how this will do for twitter viewing. Broner is a name that is attempting to comeback after several bad outings.
February 16, 2017
MMA Fighting reports that Conor McGregor requests a rehearing of his NAC disciplinary case. In an unprecedented move, the NAC plans on putting McGregor’s request up for a vote at the March 22nd meeting. Notably, NAC executive director and chairman Anthony Marnell recommend the request be granted.
According to a statement released by the NAC on Tuesday, McGregor met with Marnell and Bennett.
In October, the NAC determined McGregor’s original fine to be $75,000 plus 50 hours community service and a public service announcement that would be $75,000 in value.
Since then, McGregor has filed for a judicial review of the NAC ruling in Clark County Superior Court.
As we all know, McGregor is aiming for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. With the intent that the matchup happens in Las Vegas, McGregor would have to obtain a license. However, the disciplinary fine precludes McGregor from receiving the boxing license.
A rehearing is a clear indication that the NAC wants to reduce the disciplinary charges for McGregor. Moreover, they want to grant him a license so, if a fight with Mayweather actually occurs, it can happen in Vegas. This rehearing is not how due process should occur as the appeal should go to the court. But, if McGregor agrees to dismiss the judicial review in lieu of settling the case at the NAC, I’m sure that could happen.
February 13, 2017
A jury in New York took just 32 minutes to determine that boxer Alexander Povetkin took meldonium after the substance was banned on January 1, 2016 per ESPN.
The 9-person jury, which included a chemist, made the decision on Monday after a 3 day trial in which both boxers attended.
Despite the verdict, there might be an appeal. A letter dated February 12, 2017 by World of Boxing’s attorneys cited “gross and extensive misconduct” during the trial. The letter was filed prior to Monday’s jury verdict we presume.
If there is no appeal, it appears that Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella will receive a portion of the money still in escrow. Wilder was due $4.5 million to fight Povetkin while there was a $715,000 bonus for the winner. The attorney for Wilder and DiBella believes that the judge will release the funds.
While its early, one would have to expect a Motion for New Trial and/or an appeal from World of Boxing based on the letter from their attorneys. Still, the basic theory of the case by Wilder was that there were 4 VADA drug tests in April. The first 3 did not show any traces of meldonium but the fourth one did. Thus, he must have taken the banned substance after the third test. World of Boxing argues that despite the negative tests, Povetkin had meldonium in his system from 2015 and it just was not picked up by the tests.
We will now see how much more legal fees World of Boxing will want to invest in this case. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
February 10, 2017
This week Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin went to trial to determine whose fault it was that cancelled their fight in Russia this past May.
The sole issue to be decided at trial is whether Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016, the date that it was banned by WADA.
The trial is a battle of the experts with each side arguing about the admissibility of testimony and evidence. The science of determining Meldonium in the system is key. Povetkin admits to taking Meldonium in 2015 as prescribed by a physician. However, he denies taking it after 2016. WADA banned the substance on January 1, 2016.
Four VADA tests by Povetkin leading up to their anticipated fight in April 2017 occurred. Povetkin’s VADA tests on April 7, 8 and 11, 2017 came up negative. However, an April 27, 2017 test showed Meldonium. World of Boxing claims that the Meldonium are traces from his 2015 use.
Trial began this past Monday.
Per a pretrial order dated January 31, 2017, the parties included specifics related to trial including experts. The experts were to have submitted reports, the basis of their testimony, prior to the start of trial. The Wilder legal team retained Anthony Butch, Ph.D. to testify about the testing of banned substances and the result of Povetkin’s tests as it relates to detection of Meldonium. Essentially, Povetkin’s test results reveal he took Meldonium some time between April 11 and his last VADA test of April 27, 2016. They also named Daniel Eichner, Ph.D. as a possible expert to testify regarding the positive test results. He was added after World of Boxing added Dr. Douwe de Boer.
The World of Boxing team included several experts regarding the detection of Meldonium with the conclusion that Povetkin did not take the drug post-January 1, 2016. This included Dr. Boris Simkhovich and Dr. de Boer. Notably, Dr. de Boer was a late addition to the expert list and submitted a report which Wilder’s attorneys opposed.
On Thursday night, attorneys for Deontay Wilder requested to call Dr. Anthony Butch as a “very brief rebuttal witness” as it relates to World of Boxing’s expert, Dr. de Boer. The claim to use Dr. Butch is that Dr. de Boer disclosed an “entirely new theory of the case” during his trial testimony. Additionally, Wilder’s attorneys wanted to call Dr. Boris Simkhovich as a rebuttal witness. However, Dr. Simkohovich was a designated expert of World of Boxing but was not called by the World of Boxing when they put on its case.
The new revelation addresses, according to Wilder’s attorneys, the reasons why Povetkin’s April 7, 8 and 11, 2016 urine samples had no detection of Meldonium but there was detection of Meldonium in his April 27, 2016 test: ion suppression.
Dr. de Boer was a late add as an expert by Wilder’s legal team. The presiding magistrate, Judge Gabriel Gorenstein allowed Dr. de Boer to testify however he would have to submit to a deposition prior to trial as well as having an expert rebut the report.
The testimony from Dr. de Boer suggests due to ion suppression, Meldonium was not detected in the first three tests of April because the method of analyzing (mass spectrometer) did not pick up the Meldonium due to a competing molecule suppressing the Meldonium molecules. But, the April 27th test contained residual Meldonium which it was able to pick up.
The claim is that Dr. de Boer’s theory is based on the late production of Dr. Butch’s raw data. Despite submitting to a deposition, Dr. de Boer was precluded from answering questions about the report at his deposition per instruction from the Magistrate as the two sides butted heads over the issue.
They also wanted to call Dr. Simkhovich as a witness as Wilder’s side believed that his testimony was contrary to that of Dr. de Boer’s testimony which would seemingly show a flaw in World of Boxing’s case.
Attorneys for World of Boxing argue that Wilder’s problems are his own as the Court gave Wilder an option of deposing Dr. de Boer on Feb 1 or 2 or postpone the trial. Wilder opted to go to trial and depose Dr. de Boer. They also argue that Dr. de Boer’s report and data were provided to Wilder’s side prior to the deposition and they could have asked questions about it. They also argue that Dr. Simkhovich cannot be used as a witness as he was not called by World of Boxing and would be inadmissible.
The legal fights over inclusion of expert testimony occurs a lot and certainly each side wants to preserve their right to an appeal if needed. The credibility of the experts will be key and the efforts to rebut testimony is a way for the legal teams to get the last say before a jury.
February 9, 2017
USA Today reports that Claressa Shields will be the first female boxer to headline an event on premium network television as she will be the main feature on Showtime’s ShoBox series on March 10th.
Shields was featured in the WSJ last November where they drew comparisons to her and boxing as Ronda Rousey was to women’s MMA. She made her pro debut on the undercard of Kovalev-Ward and is thrust into the spotlight in March.
She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Due to her Olympic success, she earned a $40,000 a year stipend from USA Boxing along with her own room at the training center in Colorado Springs. She also receives meals, training and health insurance.
Turning pro is a gamble considering women boxers make little. However, her pedigree meant that she earned $50,000 in her first pro fight.
She meets Szilvia Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs) in the main event from Detroit next month.
This was a calculated gamble by Shields and her management team. Women’s boxing does not receive the publicity as women’s MMA. Notably, two women headline this Saturday’s UFC PPV. Shields looks to be the new face of women’s boxing. Certainly, she is getting paid better than most women MMA fighters. But her pay is not the norm for women’s boxers. For Showtime, which usually lags behind HBO in boxing ratings, Shields may bring much-needed interest for its ratings.
February 4, 2017
Meldonium is the key issue when attorneys for boxer Deontay Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella square off against Alexander Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing. In the latest filings, Wilder’s attorneys claim that Povetkin’s side withheld a damaging email it sent to VADA regarding Povetkin’s testing.
Now, Wilder’s attorneys are seeking to introduce the evidence to reveal that in production of documents an email was withheld.
The crux of the issue that will go to trial next week is whether Alexander Povetkin took Meldonium after the official WADA ban on the substance January 1, 2016. Wilder’s attorneys claim Povetkin took the banned substance after January 1 thus the reason the heavyweight pulled out of an anticipated fight in Russian in May 2016. Povetkin’s claim is that he took the drug prior to January 1, 2016 as prescribed by his physician and prior to the ban. They plan to introduce evidence and testimony that Meldonium can take time to leave the system.
One of the big issues will be a series of VADA drug tests on Povetkin. Tests in April 2016 reveal Povetkin had negative tests from April 7, 8 and 11 but a latter test on April 27 detected Meldonium.
Wilder’s attorney provided the court with a supplemental expert report which analyzed raw data from the tests. Povetkin’s attorneys are fighting to include a rebuttal expert report which suggests that the raw data analyzed shows that Povetkin may have had Meldonium in his system during the April 7, 8 and 11 tests.
The anticipated working theory is that Wilder will argue that the negative tests in early April plus the April 27 test show that Povetkin took the drug post April 11, 2016.
Povetkin rebuts this theory with the argument that the negative tests actually show the possibility that the fighter had Meldonium in his system at the time.
Perhaps damaging the Povetkin side is the withheld email which is purportedly from a representative of the World of Boxing, Dmitry Ivanov, to VADA’s Margaret Goodman which reads:
I would like to discuss with you about tests. In Spain it were t[h]ree times tests. It is too much. ***Recently I wrote about our best time table for.
Cause you know it will be very important fight in our career and we need have the best preparation and limit tests in order not to negative result.
We are really can’t have a tests every other days.
Hope you understand me in this issue. * * * Help to us make preparation in the good regime. * * *
p.s. I am sorry about my English. Hope you understand me right.
Wilder’s attorney claim that this email shows that World of Boxing is trying to conceal something by requesting that Povetkin’s drug tests are limited.
Povetkin’s attorneys have yet to respond.
If there is such thing as a hot document, Wilder believes that this is one that fits its theory of the case “like a glove” as it wrote to the court on Thursday of last week. It’s likely we’ll see the introduction of more dueling expert reports and rebuttals. How much will the court allow before the trial starts will be up to the court.
February 2, 2017
As trial in the Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin is ready to go next week, the attorneys for each side are fighting over expert data.
The sole issue to be determined at trial is whether Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016. Povetkin took Meldonium as recommended by his physician in August and September 2015 prior to its ban by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Meldonium remains in the system for many months after its use. WADA provided a notice on June 30, 2016 regarding Meldonium’s inclusion on the Prohibited List and excretion studies related to when the substance would leave the system.
The law firm of Arnold & Porter, the attorneys for Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing are requesting the court to submit a rebuttal expert in light of a supplemental report provided by Wilder. Arnold & Porter claim that Wilder’s attorneys, Judd & Burstein, provided additional biological data from the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory concerning Povetkin’s test results. The supplemental expert report included information from the data. The discovery deadline was in December so the parties are at an impasse regarding the inclusion of the information in evidence. Of course, Wilder’s attorneys would object to the inclusion of the new expert from Povetkin at this time since they did not have time to depose the expert on their opinion.
In all likelihood, the court will grant the new expert and a report, if any, but grant Wilder’s attorneys to depose him prior to his in court testimony.
From Povetkin attorney’s standpoint, they claim that Wilder’s side will present evidence that Povetkin took Meldonium after the April 11th VADA test (urine collection) but before the April 27 VADA test. The evidence, Arnold & Porter suggests, are negative tests for Meldonium on April 7, 8 and 11 but an April 27 test that yielded a positive result. But, Povetkin’s attorneys argue that the newly provided data and supplemental expert report show that “Meldonium had washed out by April 11.” Essentially, the argument is that the “raw data” may show trace amounts of Meldonium in the previous tests thought to be negative.
To break this argument down, Povetkin’s attorney want to explain the reasons for the “raw data” and supplemental expert report. Thus, they want to have their own expert to render an opinion on the results and Wilder’s expert report. One would assume that they would claim that the data suggests that one cannot conclude that Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016 despite the “negative tests.”
MMA Payout will continue to follow.
February 1, 2017
While the Al Haymon-Golden Boy lawsuit appears to be over barring an appeal, there is another boxing lawsuit set for trial next week. Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin are set to go to trial this Monday.
A brief background can be found here.
The parties in the case have insisted that the lawsuit proceed to trial without need for unnecessary motions. The deadline for discovery was December 15, 2016 with the attorneys for each side agreeing to a February 6, 2017 trial date. Of course, that deadline has gone by the wayside as there have been depositions taking place as late as last week.
Lawyers for Povetkin and his promoter, World of Boxing, sought a continuance on the basis that there are now issues related to discovery that have yet to be resolved.
Countering that argument, Wilder’s attorneys state that the trial will be easy as there will only one question posed to the jury: whether Povetkin ingested Meldonium prior to its WADA ban on January 1, 2016.
But, as with most things, best-laid plans for a smooth trial are going out the door as the parties are squabbling over discovery in a case that the parties admitted would be straightforward.
Both sides are geared for trial and unless the parties can decide on a settlement of the funds which remain in escrow, it seems unlikely to happen.
As one might expect, the attorneys for each side are arguing over experts.
In the current battle, the attorneys for the World of Boxing are seeking to call back for a second deposition of Deontay Wilder’s expert, Anthony Butch, Ph.D. World of Boxing claims that in the first deposition, Wilder’s expert did not provide certain information obtained from the Meldonium data he examined. Wilder’s attorney argue that the information requested was a new request and outside the scope of the original subpoena for documents that was served for the deposition.
On the other end, Wilder’s attorneys have filed a Motion in Limine to exclude certain evidence it anticipates that the World of Boxing will used at trial. Notably, it believes that World of Boxing will introduce evidence of two rulings of the World Boxing Council regarding Povetkin’s positive test.
The August 17, 2016 ruling asserts:
The October 7, 2016 ruling states:
Wilder’s attorneys argue that the information reflects only that the WBC denied rendering conclusions about when Povetkin ingested Meldonium.
It also wants to exclude evidence regarding the history of Meldonium as the issue is why Povetkin took Meldonium is the threshold issue at trial. Rather, Wilder’s attorneys argue that the issue is whether Povetkink took Meldonium. In addition, they want to exclude evidence regarding the amount of Meldonium detected would have a therapeutic or performance-enhancing effect. Also, the evidence regarding WADA’s June 30 Notice of Easing its “Zero Tolerance” Policy on Meldonium.
The judge has yet to rule on the issue but one might expect this to be cleared up at the February 3rd pretrial conference.
Clearly, World of Boxing would like the introduction of the information into evidence to put on the theme of its case of the reasons why Povetkin took Meldonium, that WADA retreated from its original ban of the drug andit was inconsequential to Wilder failing to show up at Russia to fight.
MMA Payout will keep you posted.
January 30, 2017
Jose Aldo became the latest UFC fighter to talk about boxing as an alternative to fighting in the UFC per MMA Fighting.
In an interview with Brazilian outlet TV Combate, Aldo talked about wanting to start “at the bottom” in boxing and work his way up. Unlike Conor McGregor’s plan to fight Floyd Mayweather, Aldo set out a long-term vision in boxing. Aldo stated that it’s not for the money as he wants to hold titles in both MMA and boxing some day.
Of course, one might see this as posturing as Aldo tries to get main event fights in the UFC. He hopes to fight in late April, early May.
With Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz obtaining boxing licenses, it seems that the default leverage maneuver for disgruntled UFC fighters. Similar with the obstacles that McGregor will face if he decides to promote a fight in boxing without the UFC approval, Aldo would face similar issues. Essentially, the UFC would likely block (via lawsuit in the form of a court injunction) any potential sanctioned boxing match Aldo attempts to participate in if the company does not give it its blessing. Likely, it’s another method of saber-rattling from Aldo to get the UFC to pay attention.