Lem Satterfield

Q&A: Schaefer discusses Mayweather’s move to Showtime

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Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer shared his thoughts on the potential impact of pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather’s announced first-ever appearance on Showtime against Robert Guerrero on May 4.

Mayweather’s deal is part of an exclusive multi-fight venture with the cable network and its parent company, CBS Corporation. Under the terms of the “revenue-sharing arrangement between Showtime Pay Per View and Mayweather,” the five-division titleholder could fight “six times over a period of 30 months,” according to a press release from Mayweather Promotions.

With Mayweather considered the biggest star in boxing, the signing creates an entirely different angle to the playing field between Showtime and HBO.

The move represents a landmark triumph for former sports attorney Stephen Espinoza, who was hired as Showtime’s executive vice president and general manager of sports and event programming in November of 2011.

Once a representative of Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson as well as other athletes and personalities, Espinoza replaced Ken Hershman, who accepted his current post president of HBO Sports in October of 2011.

Hershman took over the position vacated by Ross Greenburg, who announced his resignation in July of 2010 after having been at the helm HBO Sports, which oversees the network’s boxing programming, since September of 2000.

What else could Mayweather’s exodus mean?

It appears that WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez may be in line to face WBA counter part Austin Trout as the co-feature to Mayweather-Guerrero. If Alvarez wins the unbeaten Mexican star wants to face Mayweather on Sept. 14 (Mexican Independence Day weekend), meaning that high-profile, potential pay-per-view record-breaking match up would have to take place on Showtime.

How will Mayweather’s action be interpreted by younger fighters in the Golden Boy stable, such as two-division titlewinners Adrien Broner and Devon Alexander, RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, WBO middleweight titleholder Peter Quillin, or unbeaten prospect Gary Russell Jr.?  

All of the above mentioned fighters, incidentally, are managed by Al Haymon, who advises Mayweather.

Broner even stated earlier this month that “there is a great possibility that I will be on the May 4 card,” and Mayweather expressed the desire to have him be a part of it.

Schaefer has already stated that yet another Haymon fighter, unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz, who recently vacated his IBF bantamweight belt to enter the junior featherweight ranks, “could even be, potentially, on May 4.”

Schaefer addressed the climate between HBO and Showtime as it pertains to Mayweather and Golden Boy Promotions fighters in general in this brief Q&A:

RingTV.com: What are your overall thoughts on yesterday’s developments?

Richard Schaefer: I think what it is, is what happens when you have competition. There was a time when Showtime really couldn’t compete with HBO because of many reasons, but those days are over.

The subscription base between Showtime and HBO has been narrowing over the past few years and I think, as you’ve seen, over the past 12 months.

When it comes to the kinds of fighters which have left HBO to go over to Showtime, it’s not just Golden Boy fighters. Obviously, there is Mayweather, and he’s his own boss. Miguel Cotto is his own boss. These guys made their own decisions and decided that they had more opportunities over at Showtime than they did at HBO.

That sort of speaks for itself. That’s what happens when you have competition. For a long time, there wasn’t really any competition. Now, there’s competition and I think that’s great for the sport. 

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RTV: If Alvarez wants to fight Mayweather in September, that’s on Showtime, right?

RS: Canelo has already been fighting on Showtime. There’s not really any news or any change. The fact is that what this has done today is that it has maybe shaken up the boxing world and the boxing establishment a little bit.

Because, I think, what has become sort of the writing on the wall over the past 12 months is that Showtime means business when it comes to boxing.

I think that has been underlined further (with Mayweather’s move to the network). Now, I don’t have a crystal ball, and I don’t know what the future is going to hold. I am just focusing on today and the fights that I’m giong to be doing now.

I don’t know what’s going to happen now or two years from now. I have my strategic plan. Now I’m working on putting together the biggest fight night in the history of boxing.

So now, I’m am just working hard on May 4, and I’m not really thinking about what could happen in October or November.

RingTV.com: How do you imagine Mayweather’s move might be interpreted by other fighters?

RS: I think that is a valid question. I’m not living in the fighters’ world but I have heard that fighters have asked and discussed this among themselves.

Whether it’s a Danny Garcia or a Lucas Matthysse or a Miguel Cotto or an Amir Khan. A lot of those guys have suddenly shifted over to Showtime.

I think that it’s an open secret as well that Showtime has clearly increased their boxing budget so there is definitely talk among fighters, like, “Hey, what do you think is going on?” That’s just normal.

But I think that I think those are, frankly, questions that you should be asking the fighters. I think that it’s an interesting question. I have heard rumblings among the fighters, like “Hey, why is everybody leaving HBO?” 

 

RTV: Any thoughts on Broner’s desire to be on the May 4 card?

RS: At some point, it’s like, “Okay guys, who the hell is going to pay for all of this.” If I’m going to succeed in putting Canelo on, it’s like, at what point do you say, “Okay guys, come on?”

I’ve said it already, though, that I hope that we’ll be able to work out some sort of a deal with HBO and Adrien Broner, so I definitely want to work with HBO, but it takes two, so we’ll just have to see.

 

 

Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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