By Steve Kim
So what was the reaction of Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager, to the blockbuster announcement made earlier today at the New York City press conference for NBC's new boxing series (Premiere Boxing Champions) that features the voluminous stable of powerful manager/adviser Al Haymon?
Fights already announced include Robert Guerrero-Keith Thurman and Adrien Broner-John Molina for March 7th and Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson on April 11th.
Not too long ago, these fights would have been aired on Showtime.
In what was a response sent via email to BoxingScene.com, Espinoza stated on late Wednesday afternoon:
"It’s a positive for Showtime's future. We were consulted in advance regarding the fights to be scheduled on NBC, and we had the opportunity to retain those fights for Showtime, but we decided that the better long-term play – for the individual boxers, for the sport of boxing, and ultimately, for Showtime – was to allow the boxers to benefit from the mainstream exposure of network television. That exposure will only serve to elevate them further when they return to Showtime in the very near future," Espinoza stated in his email to BoxingScene.
"Our goal is not to get one or two good fights on Showtime. We want to elevate the boxers we’ve been building on Showtime – and simultaneously elevate the sport of boxing as a whole - to heights we have not seen for many, many years. Part of doing that includes allowing boxers to appear on network television in order to expand their fan base and to attract new fans to the sport. If we can refresh and expand boxing’s fan base, then Showtime and every other network that televises boxing stands to reap the benefits."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com