By Steve Kim
In recent weeks, Showtime has been announcing various fights to their upcoming schedule for the first quarter of 2018.
Thus far Errol Spence-Lamont Peterson at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn (January 20th), Mikey Garcia-Sergey Lipinets at the Alamodome in San Antonio (February 10th) and Danny Garcia-Brandon Rios at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (February 17th) have been slotted by Showtime.
So what else could be added to the early lineup?
Stephen Espinoza, the head of Showtime Sports, told BoxingScene.com - "There's a couple of things out there that are rumored and they're certainly close. I can't say whether they'll get finalized or not but we're definitely working on a fight for Deontay Wilder, definitely waiting on Matchroom(Sports) to finalize a fight with (Anthony) Joshua."
There are reports that Joshua, the IBF, WBA, IBO heavyweight belt-holder, will be unifying with WBO titlist Joseph Parker in late March. The two sides were finally able to reach a deal on the revenue split on Wednesday, after several weeks of tense negotiations over the money.
As for Wilder (the WBC champion) there are reports that he will be facing Luis Ortiz in the spring. A date of March 3rd had been mentioned for the Barclays Center. That fight was originally scheduled for a Showtime date in November, but fell out after Ortiz failed a pre-fight drug test. He has since been cleared by the WBC after an investigation.
"We'll probably in the first quarter - or the very start of the second quarter - have both Wilder and Joshua on Showtime," said Espinoza.
And Espinoza added - "and then there's another group of guys who are up right after. (WBA, WBC welterweight champion Keith) Thurman is due a fight, he should be out of rehab fairly quickly. We've got (Abner) Mares-(Leo) Santa Cruz (rematch) on the horizon and looking for a date."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.