Showtime Executive Stephen Espinoza was clearly unimpressed by the fact a Canelo vs Sergey Kovalev broadcast was delayed for a UFC Pay-Per-View.
Hours of activity on the subject were logged by Espinoza last weekend. Espinoza opened up as Canelo and Kovalev lay on their respective sofas waiting for Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz to end.
It was over 90 minutes on from the end of the co-feature, and over two hours after being gloved up, before Canelo and Kovalev finally made their ring walks at the MGM Grand.
Espinoza then posed the question, “If ‘PPV is dead’, then why delay a big boxing event to avoid conflicting with an MMA PPV?”
He continued: “More importantly, why disregard your most loyal fans. (They’re) the ones who bought tickets and who are watching your event. (And just) to accommodate a hypothetical crossover group who’d rather watch MMA?”
An advocate of the platform due to the long-standing Sho PPV. The network which accommodated the likes of Floyd Mayweather and more recently Deontay Wilder into making millions, Espinoza was been dealing with those said ‘PPV is dead’ calls for some time now.
It comes from the inception of DAZN. A streaming service throwing money all over the place. The involvement of which led to Showtime and FOX being questioned by fans over event pricing.
The recent Wilder vs Fury contest was on offer for $74.95. The rematch is rumored to be costing between $89.95 and $99.95 on February 22nd.
Showtime and Fox remain the only networks left asking punters to fork out that kind of price.
The likes of ESPN and UFC Fight Pass have gone down the monthly fee route. The path DAZN is now the leading contender in.
Signing up Canelo, Gennadiy Golovkin and others for massive cheques are seen as a quick-fire way to land long-term subscribers.
Paying for two hapless YouTubers to trade blows has also been roundly criticized by the boxing community once confirmed.
It remains to be seen if that ploy will indeed work. And subsequently, how long for.
But in response to a post on speculation that YouTube fight could topple Canelo vs Kovalev for new DAZN subscribers, Espinoza replied back with: “The fact that said executive believes that – if s/he actually does believe it – says more about the current state of DAZN than it does about the current state of boxing.”
There’s no doubt boxing is in a transition period. All involved are trying their damndest to find a blueprint that can put them ahead of the game.
Whether that’s the tried and tested Pay-Per-View scheme or the newly-formed ‘Netflix boxing’ (streaming apps) model will only become apparent over time.
Let the war rage on.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay