By Steve Kim
While there were over two dozen boxers in attendance at Cipriani's in New York City on Wednesday as Showtime announced their upcoming boxing schedule, it doesn't mean that some of those who were absent are not a part of the networks plans.
Stephen Espinoza, who was just recently elevated as the President of Showtime Sports and Event Programming, told BoxingScene.com:
"The two glaring omissions were probably Gary Russell and Shawn Porter and maybe (Anthony) Joshua vs. (Joseph) Parker. Those were all functions of not quite getting to a level of certainty with respect to the deal or the dates or opponents to get there."
The WBA, IBO, IBF, WBO heavyweight unification bout between Joshua and Parker is scheduled for March 31st at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Over 70,000 tickets have been sold to the show.
Other boxers like Gervonta Davis were part of the festivities and scheduled for April 21st as the semi-main underneath Adrien Broner-Omar Figueroa but had no dance partner listed.
Espinoza explained - "Tank's opponent is very, very close, we're just waiting for an approval from a sanctioning organization and we didn't want to get out in front of that and jump the gun by declaring something done before the sanctioning body had approved it."
It look as though Davis will face former world champion Billy Dib in an IBF junior lightweight eliminator, as a scheduled purse bid was postponed as both sides are very close to reaching a deal.
"So with a little bit more time we could've even rolled out something that was even bigger but just by the nature of the sport there's certain things that didn't get quite done in time - which include a fight for Gary Russell, a fight for Shawn Porter,'' explained Espinoza.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.