ShoBox is no more, because Showtime Boxing is no more, because the corporate cost-cutting culture is a force not even 1.2 million Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia pay-per-view buys can overcome.

But the ShoBox legacy lives on, through fights like the one main-eventing this weekend’s biggest card. Admittedly, it’s a slow boxing weekend, but the most high-profile event is Saturday’s DAZN show from the new Fontainebleau Las Vegas, with Richardson Hitchins facing Gustavo Lemos in a battle of unbeatens atop the card.

Hitchins fought twice on ShoBox, his 10th and 11th bouts. He outpointed Kevin Johnson on ShoBox on Nov. 1, 2019, then shut out Nick DeLomba on ShoBox on Feb. 28, 2020, shortly before the world shut down. He then moved up to Showtime Championship Boxing and decisioned Argenis Mendez and has since gone on to fight on Fox and DAZN.

You’ve heard the numbers before: Ninety fighters who fought on ShoBox went on to claim “world” titles, and more than 200 lost their undefeated records in front of the ShoBox cameras. Hitchins avoided the latter group. He hopes, someday soon, to increase the count of the former.

ShoBox was both a breeding and proving ground. It wasn’t the first boxing series to put prospects to the test, but it came as close as possible to perfecting the concept. And it periodically inspired similar efforts.

There are several of them out there now. Jake Paul’s promotional company launched its Most Valuable Prospects series on DAZN last May. DAZN also airs the Overtime series, ProBoxTV’s Wednesday cards often have ShoBox-y elements (next week’s is headlined by ShoBox alum Angelo Leo, in fact), and there are outfits like Red Owl Boxing capturing hints of the ShoBox vibe.

But is there something close to a 1:1 replacement coming? PBC has begun a deal with Amazon Prime Video, and several of the broadcasters and production folks have come over from Showtime, so we have to ask: Will we see something ShoBox-esque on Prime?

The short answer: Nobody knows yet.

Rumors have circulated since the moment the Prime deal was revealed regarding a lower-budget series either on Prime or on a second network that PBC may hook up with.

In an interview last week with Next TV, Prime Video director and head of partnerships Charlie Neiman said as much as anyone from the Prime side has on the topic: “Alongside [pay-per-views], we’ll have PBC fights that will be available without pay-per-view and free to Prime members. With those fights, we’ll have an opportunity to showcase up-and-coming fighters and to tell their stories as we potentially watch them develop into future pay-per-view stars.”

So … maybe? But, again, nobody knows yet. Not even former Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza, who is now a consultant for PBC and who has been involved in putting together the one PBC PPV that’s in the books and the others that are on the calendar. Boxing Scene spoke to Espinoza on Wednesday, and he essentially suggested that if you’ve read the Neiman quote, you know as much as he does.

But Espinoza didn’t hold anything back when answering the question of whether he would like to see a ShoBox-type show emerge in the post-Showtime era.

“Hopefully, for the good of the sport, there will be someone who picks up the mantle,” he said. “Perhaps it’s on Prime, perhaps it’s somewhere else. But for the good of the sport, it is absolutely necessary. And I hope that there is a group out there that is willing to do the hard work, because it isn’t easy to insist on that level of quality and be consistent week in and week out, and really grind the promoters down on taking the toughest possible matchups.”

As Espinoza expressed, what made ShoBox successful – what was key to it lasting for more than 22 years – was not just the platform it gave to up-and-coming fighters but the way they were consistently matched competitively (assisted by access to “promoters,” plural, as Espinoza said). There weren’t a lot of A-side-versus-B-side fights. And when there were A-sides, there weren’t a lot of cases in which the favored fighter didn’t figure, at least on paper, to be tested in some way.

Just because a prospect is getting TV dates doesn’t mean a prospect is getting fights that will force them to develop. See, for example, the entire nine-fight pro career thus far of U.S. Olympic heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr., who has been featured plenty on ESPN and ESPN+ but has yet to appear challenged.

And that’s OK. Torrez is still in the single-digits in terms of fights, and mixing in some easy ones is part of the deal.

But none of his fights so far would have been likely to meet with the approval of ShoBox executive producer Gordon Hall.

“There was an absolute emphasis on quality matchmaking and on having highly regarded prospects in both the red and the blue corner,” Espinoza said of ShoBox. “It wasn't just a platform for young fighters to get exposed. It was a platform where young fighters got exposed and we could also start to see separation between the really good fighters and the elite fighters. And you only get that with high-quality matchmaking and competitive fights.

“Look, exposure is definitely necessary as well. And certainly, very early in a career, every fight is not going to be a war. But at a certain point, there needs to be competitive opponents and real tests.”

Of course, that type of fight isn’t exclusive to a series in which every competitor is a prospect. We see excellent prospect-versus-prospect fights in co-features on championship-level cards, in openers on pay-per-views, and so on.

We saw a perfect example just last Saturday. When Elijah Garcia, due to illness, pulled out of his bout on the Prime-streamed pre-show to the Sebastian Fundora-Tim Tszyu pay-per-view, Curmel Moton-Anthony Cuba slid into the opening slot.

Moton, a 17-year-old in his third pro fight, was the clear A-side – the guy being groomed for stardom. But Cuba, just 21 years old himself and undefeated, came in looking to win, and he had the skills to at least compete en route to dropping a shutout eight-round decision.

“No one’s saying that Cuba and Moton should have fights like that every single time until they get to the championship level,” Espinoza stressed. “But certainly, I think in the long run, there’s going to be a huge benefit from having that kind of experience so early in their career. I’d much rather see that than see someone getting one-sided blowouts for the first 15 fights, and you get to an advanced stage in their career and you’re not sure really what you have in a particular fighter.”

To Espinoza, the question is not simply “will Prime Video launch a prospect-focused boxing series?” That is one question, certainly, for which he’s interested in working toward an answer. But for the good of the sport, he would be satisfied to see the ShoBox legacy live on in spirit regardless of whether it’s partially under his purview.

“I think it’s valuable for the hardcore boxing fan who wants to see, regularly, who’s next and who’s coming up – and not have to search on undercards or different outlets,” Espinoza said. “I’d love to see a go-to place for that.”