Whether it was Muhammad Ali refereeing the main event of Wrestlemania I, Mike Tyson feuding with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Floyd Mayweather Jr. breaking The Big Show’s nose, or more recently, Tyson Fury campaigning in the WWE, boxers have long had a history of making cameos in professional wrestling.

There is now intent and desire from World Wrestling Entertainment to officially plant a flag and deepen its presence in boxing. 

WWE Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon recently stated that one of the potential areas for growth for the company is mergers and acquisitions.

During the sixth annual Wells Fargo TMT Summit in Las Vegas on Nov. 30, Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall asked McMahon to elaborate and provide color on what those future acquisition plans could look like for the WWE. 

“Just to give some examples of what I meant by that, [an acquisition] has to align with our core capabilities, right, so whether that’s smaller wrestling promotions, say, internationally. Or it’s another bigger opportunity around a business that is, you know, kind of all over the place like boxing. Who's the lineal champion? Who's the WBC champion? Who's the this — it's kind of it's all over the place. That’s where professional wrestling was some 40 years ago. My father, Vince McMahon, who was the Chairman and CEO, obviously, had the opportunity to roll up all of those different territories and create one major brand in WWE that has now gone from a regional, territorial, content play to a global media franchise. And how can we then replicate that in other areas, with boxing being an idea of one of them.” 

McMahon didn’t elaborate any further, or specifically on what kind of a player WWE would be in boxing’s fragmented and often fractured ecosystem. 

The McMahon family has a deep history in boxing. Jess McMahon, Vince's grandfather, was a boxing promoter in the early 20th century. 

WWE Co-CEO Nick Khan has a deep background and passion for boxing. In 2017, then a top agent for CAA, Khan was instrumental in brokering the megadeal that brought Top Rank Boxing exclusively to ESPN.

Stephanie McMahon is also married to former wrestler and current WWE chief content officer Paul Levesque (Triple H). 

Levesque was a mainstay in Mayweather’s circle during the Hall of Fame boxer’s illustrious career, frequently joining Mayweather during fight weeks as well as his ring walks. 

Throughout the last few decades, other boxers have made appearances in the wrestling ring, including Evander Holyfield, Buster Douglas, and “Butterbean” Eric Esch, among others. 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.