Stephen Espinoza, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports, says his network would be interested in securing the services of Floyd Mayweather, if the controversial American boxing champion were to sever ties with HBO.
“We’d definintely be interested,” stated Espinoza at the Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout press event on Monday afternoon in New York City. “We haven’t really engaged in detailed discussions. So are we going to make a play for it and put our best foot forward – absolutely. We’ll pursue it very aggressively. But I think it’s still in the very early stages.”
The fact that there has been any discussion between the Mayweather team and SHOWTIME might be taken by some as a big surprise, considering how valuable a performer Mayweather has proven himself to be over the years, and because Mayweather has affectionaly called HBO his “family” at numerous press conferences and boxing events.
Espinoza implied there has been interest shown by both sides. “Oh, we’ve shown our interest multiple times. So I’d expect to be put in the conversation going forward. And the chips will fall where they may.”
When I asked Espinoza if Mayweather was displeased with HBO, he replied, “I haven’t heard that at all. All I know is that essentially I want that fight. Just like I want every other high profile fight. So they know I’m interested and when the time comes, to sort of start the discussions, I’d hope to be a part of.”
Not sure, I asked Espinoza if he just referred to SHOWTIME securing the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight? He responded, “Whether it’s a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight or whether it’s Mayweather versus someone else. Right now, Pacquiao is spoken for. Mayweather is still in the market. So I’ll definitely be pursuing that as hard as I can.”
Also, it must be mentioned that I asked a top member of the HBO Sports hierarchy last week if it was true that Mayweather would be leaving HBO to go to SHOWTIME, and this HBO executive responded, “I don’t want to talk about that stuff right now.”
Could HBO be giving Mayweather and his advisor Al Haymon an ultimatum that the premium network is only interested in investing in Pacquiao vs. Mayweather and that no more handpicked set-up fights will be tolerated? Could it be true that SHOWTIME is poised in position and ready to televise the homestretch of Mayweather’s career just as it did for Mike Tyson after his three-year jail sentence?
Topics: American Boxing, Best Foot, Boxing Champion, Boxing Events, Chips, Executive Vice, Floyd Mayweather, Hbo, Hbo Sports, Hierarchy, Miguel Cotto, Monday Afternoon, Multiple Times, New York City, Pacquiao Mayweather, Press Conferences, Showtime Network, Trout, Vice President, Vp