By Steve Kim
With their recent roll-out of fights in the upcoming months, Showtime has once again re-affirmed their commitment to the sport.
And in the States, there may be no network that has put more more into their boxing franchise in recent years.
"Definitely, we've been saying it for awhile," stated Stephen Espinoza, the President of Showtime Sports and Event Programming, to BoxingScene.com. "We feel like we are more committed and have invested more resources, time and energy into the sport than anyone else and that's a by-product of this."
In addition to their 'World Championship Boxing' franchise, they also have their 'ShoBox' series and consistently evolved their Facebook and Youtube pages to showcase boxing more and more.
On Wednesday at Cipriani's in New York they had a function to announce their 2018 schedule for the first half of the year. Many of the featured fighters were in attendance at this event.
"It demonstrates what a deep pool of talent there is - not just here at the network and for the benefit of the network - but to remind the audience as a whole that boxing is in a really good place," continued Espinoza.
"Boxing is often very self-critical, where were almost cannibalistic about our expectations. So once in awhile I think we need to sit back and say, 'look, yes we're harsh and we expect a lot of the sport but at the same time we've got a lot to be proud off and it's in a healthy place.'"
THE FIGHTS ANNOUNCED ON WEDNESDAY INCLUDE
April 7, Venue TBD: Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd for Lara’s WBA and Hurd’s IBF super welterweight titles.
April 21, Barclays Center, Brooklyn: Adrien Broner vs. Omar Figueroa; Gervonta Davis vs. TBA.
May 19, Barclays Center, Brooklyn: Keith Thurman vs. TBA for Thurman’s WBA/WBC welterweight titles.
May 19, Venue TBD, Quebec, Canada: Adonis Stevenson vs. Badou Jack for Stevenson’s WBC light heavyweight title.
June 9, Venue TBD, Los Angeles: Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares for Santa Cruz’s WBA featherweight title; Jermell Charlo vs. TBA for Charlo’s WBC super welterweight title.
June 16, Venue TBD, Dallas: Errol Spence Jr. vs. TBA for Spence’s IBF welterweight title.
Three events that already have been announced were part of Wednesday’s program as well. Those fights included:
February 17, Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas: Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios, welterweights; David Benavidez vs. Ronald Gavril for Benavidez’s WBC super middleweight title.
March 3, Barclays Center, Brooklyn: Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title; Jermall Charlo vs. Huge Centeno Jr. for the WBC interim middleweight title.
March 10, The Alamodome, San Antonio: Sergey Lipinets vs. Mikey Garcia for Lipinets’ IBF junior welterweight title; Rances Barthelemy vs. Kyril Relikh for the WBA super lightweight title.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com