Hatton on Sunday
We're announcing today that the BBC will be showing the first free-to-air broadcast of the Hatton v Mayweather fight from last weekend. It's being scheduled this coming Sunday lunchtime at 1pm.
This follows the successful showing of Calzaghe v Kessler a few weeks back, which attracted more than two million viewers – and, yes, we'd already made the arrangements to show the Hatton fight before last weekend's triumph for boxing at the Sports Personality awards in Birmingham.
It's a shame Ricky didn't win in Las Vegas, but we know a lot of people won't yet have had a chance to watch the story unfold. It all took place, as Ricky himself said, amid a tremendous atmosphere.
This week there's been the odd piece in the newspapers speculating about whether the BBC will "return" to boxing, so let me explain the current position. We carry a lot of live boxing on Radio 5 Live - which had free-to-air commentary of the whole of Hatton-Mayweather. We're committed to amateur boxing on television, and we're looking forward to the best British hopes in years carrying the flag out in the Beijing Olympics. And then we've had delayed reruns of the really big events like Hatton and Calzaghe.
Whether we do more in the future depends, as with all our rights, on two things: (1) the ability to schedule - which is complicated in the case of boxing by the success of Match Of The Day in occupying the Saturday post-10pm slot on BBC One; and (2) affordability. Boxing can be expensive, as the staggering revenues from pay-per-view have shown, and for terrestrial broadcasters there's less attractiveness in fights that take place in the early hours of the morning.
So it's under review, and we're listening to boxing fans who'd like the sport to be more prominent on the main channels. We also remain delighted by Joe Calzaghe's success, and everyone would agree that Ricky Hatton made a fantastic contribution to Sunday's Sports Personality despite landing on the canvas just a few hours earlier.