This column isn’t about to spark into debate on gambling’s links with sport – because I’d probably lose that too – but boxing fans, whether they like a flutter or not, are being asked to take a bit of a punt this weekend if they want to tune in to the big fight.
Anthony Joshua – one half of the most talked about fight of the year – will be in the ring facing off against Oleksandr Usyk, not the other half of the most talked about fight of the year.
Tyson Fury, if he’s wanting to keep tabs on his prospective on-off opponent, can watch at home and if he does, he’ll have to pay for it on Sky Box Office.
I’ve often wondered why it’s boxing which is the pay-per-view event of choice in this country. WWE wrestling does it – but viewers are guaranteed three or four hours of entertainment by the very nature of their product. And not that I’m advocating such a move but with football and rugby, you’ll get about an hour and a half of live competition, guaranteed.
With boxing, you could be forking out £25 for a match which could be over within seconds.
It’s a gamble and while the big fight does, according to bookmakers, look fairly one-sided, the odds at least suggest it’ll go the distance and there’s a decent undercard too.
Sticking with Sky, they’ve given the fight heavy build-up but the big event of the remainder of this month has a whole channel dedicated to it – Sky Sports Ryder Cup, 405 on Sky and 505 on Virgin.
Thursday night’s opening ceremony from Whistling Straits will be shown at 10pm but there’s much to get in the mood before then with the various highlights packages and memoirs as well as preview shows of golf’s great and ever-developing derby.
Sunday sees the foursomes out on course, but it’s also football derby-day in three of the great cities of the world – Rome, New York and London. New York Red Bulls host New York City, Arsenal play Tottenham and Roma meet Lazio on various channels – all far removed from BBC Scotland’s offering 48 hours earlier with Arbroath v Kilmarnock from a no-doubt windswept Gayfield Park.
It rounds off plenty of midweek domestic football action too as
Berwick Rangers host Gretna 2008 on the same channel tonight (September 20) and
the Premier Sports Cup resumes on, you guessed it, Premier Sports.
Rangers are at home to Livingston on Wednesday night and the remote control can get a work-out with Dundee v St Johnstone on the other side at the same time. On Thursday the batteries and buttons will continue to take a battering in the same scenario with Celtic v Raith Rovers on the main channel and Dundee United v Hibs on PS2.
Each match is worth watching, but everything either side of the bet in-play adverts will be worth tuning in to as, given the controversy of the past week and Premier Sports’ previous punditry preferences, there will be plenty of interest in how each broadcast’s summarisers and match analysts line-up too.