By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Stephen Espinoza has made an aggressive pitch to Canelo Alvarez’s team.
All Showtime’s president for sports and event programming can do now is wait for Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez to choose the Mexican superstar’s new broadcast partner in the United States. Alvarez is a television/streaming free agent now that HBO has announced the premium cable network will move away from broadcasting boxing by the end of this year.
Espinoza discussed Showtime’s interest in Alvarez before a press conference Tuesday to promote the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight title fight December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“We’ve expressed interest, but they’re taking their time,” Espinoza told BoxingScene.com at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. “We’ve made our interest known. But it’s not something we’re gonna be real up front about in the press. We’ve made our communication directly to Golden Boy and they know we’re very interested. And we obviously have a history with Canelo.
“There’s a range of free agents, and we think we are the most attractive platform in the sport. We have a proven track record in pay-per-view and we’ve got the deepest stable of current stars.”
Alvarez has worked with Showtime on several of his fights, including his majority-decision defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. five years ago.
Mayweather-Alvarez ranks No. 3 on the list of the most profitable pay-per-view boxing matches, behind only Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather-Conor McGregor. The Mayweather-Alvarez fight in September 2013 drew roughly 2.2 million buys and produced approximately $150 million in pay-per-view revenue.
Alvarez’s two subsequent bouts – a 10th-round TKO over Alfredo Angulo and a split-decision defeat of Erislandy Lara – also headlined Showtime Pay-Per-View events.
The 28-year-old Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) then signed an exclusive deal with HBO that began with his third-round knockout of James Kirkland in May 2015. He boxed in six pay-per-view fights and fought once live on HBO during the three-plus years of that deal.
Promoter Bob Arum also has expressed interest in Alvarez fighting either on ESPN or ESPN Pay-Per-View. Arum’s Top Rank Inc. has an exclusive content agreement with ESPN, which would require De La Hoya to work with Top Rank on Alvarez’s fights if he signed a deal with ESPN.
DAZN, the new streaming service with which British promoter Eddie Hearn has partnered, also has expressed interest in working with Alvarez.
Espinoza believes Showtime is the only company pursuing Alvarez’s services with the requisite record in producing successful pay-per-view events.
“We’ve got the proven track record in pay-per-view,” Espinoza said. “With HBO’s departure, we’re really the only party with a proven track record in pay-per-view. And the fights that we’ve been doing have been speaking for themselves.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.