Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford, two of HBO’s biggest stars, are now fighting for ESPN and headlining their own live cards in August.
Lomachenko will defend the WBO super featherweight title against Miguel Marriaga in the main event of an August 5 in Los Angeles, ending any negotiations Lomachenko had with former world champion Orlando Salido. Lomachenko and Salido’s camps were trying to negotiate a fight, but Salido ultimately rejected an offer of $720,000, and Top Rank moved on to Marriaga for Lomachenko's third title defense.
The rumored light welterweight unification bout between Crawford and Julius Indongo where the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF light welterweight titles are on the line will main event an ESPN card on August 19. That card will take place in Lincoln, Nebraska. It will be the first time all four major world titles will be unified in the light welterweight division.
Burke Magnus, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and scheduling, helped finalize the deal to bring Crawford and Lomachenko onto ESPN.
"ESPN is thrilled to bring these two new title fights to fans," Magnus said. "There is a lot of buzz around boxing right now, and much of it centers around these two great champions -- Lomachenko and Crawford. We are excited and proud to showcase these two great events on all of our platforms."
Lomachenko and Crawford, both promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank, had HBO deals for their next fight run out, the network never made an offer, opening up the possibility for ESPN to secure those fights. This continues a recent string of ESPN securing broadcasting rights for boxing events. Earlier this year, Golden Boy Promotions and ESPN struck a deal for the network to hold numerous boxing cards throughout the year and ESPN are now going to broadcast the Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn fight on July 1. Fightful will have complete coverage of that card, including a post-fight podcast.