by Steve Kim
It's been awhile since Showtime televised a live boxing card. Through much of the summer their focus was centered on the pay-per-view event between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor that took place on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
There were many who derided this promotion and claimed that it damaged the credibility of the sport of boxing.
But Stephen Espinoza, the Executive V.P. and G.M. of Showtime Sports (which distributed this event) has a different perspective.
"At a certain point I felt a good analogy was it was sort of like a summer blockbuster movie. You don't want every movie to be 'Transformers' but when it comes it's hard not to get caught up in the hype and go to IMAX and go see it on the big screen and get caught up in the excitement, the drama and the explosions, the fireworks and all of that," he said to BoxingScene.com.
Espinoza continued - "Boxing fans are harder on their sport than any other sport and in some ways deservedly so. But this is one where it was a different type of experience, it was a different type of spectacle we rarely see and it's a good change of pace. It wasn't the norm but as a change of pace it was certainly interesting and intriguing and I think compelling."
On that late August night, Mayweather stopped McGregor in ten rounds in a fight that played to generally good reviews( at least with casual fans) to improve his record to 50-0 (27 KO's). It was a fight that reached a wide-ranging audience.
"It did without question bring new fans into the sport, particularly young fans,'' said Espinoza, who's network gets back into the swing of things with a triple-header this Saturday night from the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
"Conor has a very strong fan-base of young males - and even females - so that's a particular benefit. That there was a whole legion of teenagers who follow Conor McGregor who are now talking about boxing.
"It's absolutely a positive thing."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.