For boxing fans concerned that these nontraditional events are siphoning off resources from title fights, or boxing doomsagers who think the fights signal the sport’s slipping into oblivion, Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports, tells the pay-per -View provider for the Sunday menu, history and context important.
He advises that novelty events are not new. Muhammad Ali, who was still a heavyweight champion in 1976, fought pro-wrestler Antonio Inoki, and Battle of the Network Stars drew huge audiences in the 1980s by putting non-athletes into athletic competition. Neither of these events derailed the mainstream pro sports industry. Similarly, Espinoza says, fights like Mayweather-Paul complement world-class fights, but they won’t replace them. He believes the spectators drawn in by the spectacle could become bigger fans of the sport.
“We can do the two things side by side without polluting each other,” said Espinoza. “The danger is when you start mixing and matching events and trying to portray one as the other. They are different products and should be handled differently. “
Espinoza said most of Showtime’s boxed content still appeals to lovers. On Sunday evening Showtime will also air the first part of the documentary series “The Kings”, which examines the rivalry between Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Ray Leonard. The network’s June schedule also includes title bouts with Jermall Charlo and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
Even Triller, who started this wave of celebrity boxing shows, is investing in high-level boxing. The pay-per-view headline battle on June 19 is Teofimo Lopez’s slight title defense against George Kambosos Jr. And where rapper Snoop Dogg featured as commentary at his first event, his next card will keep Jim Lampley busy, who is a longtime Player was. incidentally, announcer at the fights of HBO before the cable network turned away from boxing.
Sunday ticket organizers hoped a light heavyweight rematch between Badou Jack and Jean Pascal would appeal to hardcore boxing fans, but Pascal failed a pre-fight doping test. Jack will now compete against a local competitor named Dervin Colina, and the promoters will rely even more heavily on the main event for attention and revenue.
Capacity at Hard Rock Stadium is limited to 25,000 fans and according to Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, the live event is tending to sell out.