Showtime boss: Heavyweight title fights don’t belong on limited streaming
Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza sent out a defiant message to TV rivals this week after retaining the services of heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Espinoza fended off the challenge of ESPN and DAZN in the last few days alone. Keeping Wilder on Showtime and SHO PPV for the long haul.
Addressing the decision for Wilder to remain with his company, Espinoza said he was delighted to present a mandatory fight with Dominic Breazeale on May 18.
“It was critical to Deontay for the sport and for his fans around the world that this fight would be available not on pay per view, but on Showtime without the high price tag,” he said.
“Because of his insistence, that is the primary reason that we are standing here today announcing a none pay per view fight on Showtime.
“We are the home of premium boxing. The best talent and the biggest fights. This is where a world heavyweight championship fight belongs, not on a streaming platform with limited viewership.
“Recently, ESPN named the World Fame 100. The most talked about famous athletes in the world based on Google searches, social media following and endorsements. Deontay was number 34 in the world. That’s two slots behind Tom Brady. That’s higher than any other boxer that’s active in the sport today. He’s a bonified superstar – there is no question.
“Regardless of what others may want to believe, Showtime has plenty of money. We’re not going anywhere. We have been the home of the best boxing for quite some time and we have been the leader in the sport.
“We’re not going anywhere. We are going to remain at the head of the class for a long long time to come. In the words of Mark Twain and to paraphrase, ‘Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated’.
“So that brings us to where we are today. The heavyweight championship is back on Showtime with Dominic Breazeale. He’s a big, strong, experienced and powerful – but most of all motivated.
“It’s no secret that there is a personal rivalry between the two of them. I predict this is not going to be a friendly promotion like we saw in the Fury fight.
“There is genuine animosity here. These guys are professional, but there is also an emotional rivalry which you will see very quickly.
“This is a premium, high-quality fight. This is the heavyweight championship on Showtime at the Barclays Center going down on may 18th,” added Espinoza.