By Rick Reeno
Stephen Espinoza, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports and Event Programming, tells BoxingScene.com that a mountain of misinformation has been reported with respect to the exclusive multi-fight agreement between his network and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In early 2013, Mayweather finalized a six fight multi-year deal with Showtime/CBS. The first pay-per-view fight of that deal was in May of that year, against Robert Guerrero. The second fight, in September of that year, came against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The following year he returned in May and September - both times against Marcos Maidana.
In May of this year, Mayweather stepped in the ring for the long awaited mega-fight with Manny Pacquiao. And this past Saturday night, Mayweather faced Andre Berto to satisfy the sixth and final obligation of the Showtime/CBS contract.
The exact terms of the agreement are unknown. There is speculation that Showtime/CBS guarantees Mayweather somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million (give or take a few million) per fight.
While there was a six fight agreement, Espinoza confirms that each individual fight had it's own set of financial terms. Each pay-per-view agreement was different with both sides tweaking the details until it worked, financially, for everyone involved.
"There have been a lot of misperceptions on the deal. The reality is, it really hasn't been the same deal on any two of the six fights. Every deal [for each individual fight] has ended up being adjusted on its own terms," Espinoza told BoxingScene.com.
"We did one deal for Guerrero. And then we did one for Canelo and there some things that Floyd wanted to tweak or some things that we wanted to tweak. We came back and did Maidana. Every fight, although it's a multi-fight deal, every fight is adjusted so that it works for Mayweather and it works for Showtime."
Mayweather (as the A-side) has outperformed every boxer on pay-per-view since the Showtime deal went into effect. The pay-per-view figures for Guerrero and Maidana (twice) were respectable numbers that came around the 1 million mark.
The fight with Canelo was a financial homerun, generating the third largest pay-per-view figure in history - 2.25 million buys. And the fight with Pacquiao, which saw Showtime and network rival HBO join together, crushed every financial figure in the sport with the most financially successful boxing event in history. The pay-per-view brought in 4.4 million buys.
But the fight with Berto was seen by most as a financial disaster. Berto, 3-3 in his last six fights, was a 34-1 underdog for most of the promotion and given zero shot of winning by the majority of the press.
In comparison to Mayweather's first five bouts under Showtime, there was significantly less buzz during fight week. There were less reporters in town to cover the event and the attendance at the MGM Grand was less at well. The venue announced a crowd figure of 13,395 - with unconfirmed reports that many tickets were given away.
Espinoza was unable to reveal the exact details, but says the terms for the Berto pay-per-view placed both Showtime and Mayweather in "safe" territory with respect to taking a big loss on the Berto event.
"It's simultaneously a safe deal and a generous deal. Neither side is unfairly exposed to risk and both sides have an upside. Its the right deal for this event," Espinoza said.