by David P. Greisman - This came as a surprise to some, though there should be no real surprises in boxing. Not in a sport that boils down to business. Not when business breaks down any notions of loyalty. Not when the only loyalty is to the promise of money.
Floyd Mayweather was an HBO fighter. He is now a Showtime fighter. The man nicknamed “Money” walked, and that’s because money talks.
The money trail began long before Mayweather officially switched networks, starting with the departure of HBO Sports executive Ross Greenburg in 2011, continuing with Ken Hershman moving from Showtime to HBO to replace Greenburg, and culminating in Showtime hiring Stephen Espinoza to replace Hershman.
Espinoza had previously been the lead counsel for Golden Boy Promotions, and his connection to that company — one of the two main boxing promoters in the United States — helped lead to a close relationship with Golden Boy in his new role. Showtime began to show more Golden Boy cards, HBO less. And due to Golden Boy’s relationship with powerful boxing adviser Al Haymon, a massive number of Haymon’s fighters were suddenly being spotlighted on the network.
“Now why do you think [Golden Boy executive Richard] Schaefer’s getting all these dates from Showtime? Because he said he’s going to bring Mayweather over,” said rival promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, speaking to reporters in July 2012, as quoted at the time by Ben Thompson of FightHype.com.
Arum wrongly predicted that Mayweather wouldn’t actually leave HBO. But his line of thinking, and that of others who work in or follow boxing, was that Showtime was seeking to set up an eventual Mayweather move.
“It’s been no secret in the sport that over the course of the past year Showtime has done all or maybe 90 percent of their business with Golden Boy Promotions,” said HBO blow-by-blow announcer Jim Lampley last week in a radio interview with The Mighty 1090 in San Diego with Scott and BR. “They have catered very favorably to fighters who are managed by Al Haymon, Floyd Mayweather’s manager, so this approach took place on a lot of different fronts. They worked as hard as they possibly could.” [Click Here To Read More