Boxing’s Biggest Fight of the Year Is All But Invisible to Cord Cutters

Short of using VPNs or searching for illicit streams, cord cutters are out of luck when it comes to this weekend’s Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan superfight.
May 3, 2016, 4:18pm
Image: HBO

On Saturday, May 7, Mexican boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez will defend his WBC middleweight championship against Britain's lightning quick Amir Khan in what's expected to be boxing's biggest fight of the year. There's just one problem: You can't legally watch at home unless you have cable or satellite.

In the US, the fight will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View on Saturday evening for $59/$69 (SD/HD). HBO Pay-Per-View can only be accessed via a traditional pay TV provider, like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or DirecTV. That means even if you're able to watch shows like Game of Thrones or VICE on HBO live using an internet-only service like Sling TV or HBO Now, you will not be able to watch the bout from the comfort of your own home completely above board.

Lame, I agree.

An HBO spokesperson did tell Motherboard that the fight will be available at select bars, restaurants, and movie theaters, but that's cold comfort for anyone who isn't lucky enough to live near a participating venue. (It's not great news for someone like me, either: Yes, I'm sure I'll be able to find a bar that will be showing the fight, but the thought of "going out" on a Saturday evening fills me with dread.)

Golden Boy promotions, which is promoting the fight, did not respond to Motherboard's request for comment on why the fight was not being made available legally over the internet for people in the US.

So what options are there for people who've cut the cord? Well, hope you're OK with bending the rules a little bit.

A subscription-based UK service, BoxNation, will be livestreaming the fight for UK residents—or anyone who connects via a UK VPN. The service costs about $17 per month (you can cancel anytime), and when paired with a commercial VPN provider (the same providers that Netflix is currently trying to combat), you should be able to watch the fight without issue.

It also goes without saying that streams of the fight will likely be available all over the place come Saturday, with the boxing subreddit /r/boxing likely your best bet to find vetted, malware-free streams (websites hosting live sports streams are common vectors for malware).

Here in 2016, boxing's chief competitors, UFC and WWE, make all of their pay-per-view events available online. Perhaps it's time boxing did much the same.

Be sure to check out the Motherboard Guide to Cord Cutting for more tips on how to live life without cable.

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