The chaos surrounding WBA Light-Welterweight Champion Amir Khan’s homecoming defense against Paul McCloskey somehow managed to descend to a new level today with Sky Sports announcing that they had been unable to reach a deal to reschedule the former pay per view for one of their subscription sports channels.It had been noticeable in the past few days that Sky had been careful to avoid promoting the channel change in their other boxing programming as even when they were running down future bouts the match was never mentioned.
Khan-McCloskey was originally booked as the headline fight of a Sky Box Office event but after running into numerous problems with the undercard Sky decided to cancel the pay per view and look to make it free to their subscribers. In a statement on their website they claimed that a financial deal had been agreed with Khan but that “it has not proved possible to reach an agreement on TV scheduling”. The disagreement may have been over the fact that the bout faced relegation to the broadcaster’s third sports network, one that is not in as many homes as either Sky Sports One or Sky Sports Two. This is the second out of Khan’s past three fights that Sky has not picked up, a statistic that suggests his relationship with the UK’s premier boxing broadcaster is in a state of serious disrepair.
Where the fight will end up now is unclear with their having been reports that pay per view channel Primetime would pick the bout up. Primetime would be a significant step down for Khan as they’ve only previously ran programming aimed at hardcore combat sports fans, mostly fights that Sky had failed to show interest in. In many ways its the British equivalent of Integrated Sports Pay Per View. Alternatively Khan may decide to reach a deal with a network such as BBC or ITV in the hope that the exposure would help build his fanbase. This is unlikely given the severe financial hit that Khan is already facing and arguably unnecessary given the fact that unlike most boxers Khan has had plenty of prior fights on network television. Either way there’s no doubting that the situation is a mess and profound embrassment to a fighter who just this Thursday was explaining in interviews how he believed that he is a pay per view fighter regardless of his opponent.
Tags: Amir Khan, Boxing, Paul McCloskey, Sky Sports