By Kirk Jackson
Floyd Mayweather recently inked a deal with the Showtime/CBS network. Financial details are “contractually confidential,” but reportedly the six-fight, 30-month deal can earn Mayweather over $ 200 million.
This kind of news changes the landscape of boxing, but what does this ultimately mean?
First and foremost, HBO loses their biggest fighter. They now will have to rely on Adrien Broner as their main staple, unless he decides to join his mentor which is unlikely. With guys like Andre Ward, Nonito Donaire on the roster, HBO still has some star power.
Ward is heralded as Mayweather’s immediate heir apparent and Donaire under Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum, is carefully being groomed as the next Manny Pacquiao.
Broner is a young, emerging star in the realm of boxing and possesses a “Floyd Mayweather” esque flair and personality HBO will try to capitalize on going forward.
Over the past 20 years, HBO has had the leverage in the star department, securing fighters on their roster like Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield, Miguel Cotto, Lennox Lewis, Prince Naseem Hamed, Arturo Gatti, Mayweather and Pacquiao respectively.
Although Showtime lacked the star names, the network still put out great quality matches. The four fights between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez took place on Showtime, Donaire vs. Vic Darchinyan, the epic back and forth match-up between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo, Corrales vs. Joel Casamayor, the entertaining and controversial fights between Abner Mares and Joseph Abecko and the Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Orlando Salido bouts took place on the network as well.
The Super Middleweight Super Six tournament aired exclusively on the Showtime, in hopes of not only solidifying who the best super middleweight in the world is, but also for finding their next star to carry the network.
The last major star the Showtime network had was Mike Tyson when he left HBO for Showtime in 1990.
In recent years, with the extended coverage leading up to major bouts, Super Six Tournament, the network has made strides in an effort to compete with HBO.
Showtime even landed a blockbuster fight featuring Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley back in 2011, drawing over 1.3 million pay per view buys.
It will be refreshing to see Mayweather and hopefully many other marquee boxers fight on a network with unbiased commentary.
An analytical team featuring Al Berstein, Gus Johnson, Steve Farhood, Paulie Malignaggi, guys who offer actual insight and proper analysis of the fight and the fighters instead of hidden agenda based, biased commentary.
There are some people skeptical of the huge deal with Showtime. Some people still want an eventual Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, which brings to question, who will the six opponents for Mayweather be?
We can’t even be certain all six fights from Mayweather will come to fruition; he’s only fought six times in the last six years. But let’s take a look at the possible opponents.
Pacquiao will not be one of Mayweather’s opponents.
Some argue this new contract with Mayweather and Showtime solidifies that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will never happen because they are now main stays at opposing networks.
Whether Pacquiao should continue fighting is up for debate. His health in declining and being a give and take punch kind of a fighter, his health will only deteriorate in the ring from here on out. But even with that in mind, he will return to the ring.
Will he ever fight Mayweather? Probably not and there is not really a point to. He is a shell of himself, especially after suffering a knockout defeat against arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez, a guy who by the way who was easily defeated by Mayweather.
Even if we were seeing the “Prime Pacquiao,” the guy who moved up from junior flyweight and could walk through welterweight punches while possessing increased stamina, speed and punching power, would be at a style mismatch regardless.
Last I checked, counter-punchers like Marquez always gave Pacquiao problems and Mayweather is arguably one of the greatest counter-punchers we have seen in recent memory. Not to mention Mayweather is stronger, bigger and faster than Marquez. Do the math, the fight will never happen.
Robert Guerrero, a guy longing for a shot at the best fighter in the sport and deserving of a huge pay day is facing Floyd May 4th.
Saul Alvarez, Timothy Bradley and Sergio Martinez are some other potential opponents. There’s room for a rematch or two if needed be, but aside from those opponents listed, I do not foresee any other opponents for Mayweather.
Maybe Juan Manuel Marquez can be added with his recent success over Pacquiao, but he seems more likely heading towards retirement.
Also, he along with Bradley is under the Bob Arum Top Rank Promotions banner. This means like with Pacquiao, a duel with either fighter is less likely to happen.
At the end of the day it’s also about making money and hopefully placing Floyd in the ring with opponents the public wants to see.
This signing is great for the sport of boxing. There will be more exposure for the sport as it will be broadcasted across a major network like CBS. Perhaps this will persuade other fighters to join Showtime.
With Mayweather leaving, is this a trend for HBO? Losing their stars?
Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, boxing stars brought up through HBO fought on Showtime this past year.
The popular promotional company headed by Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaeffer Golden Boy Promotions is featuring their fighters on the Showtime Network, with rising boxing megastar star Saul Alvarez leading the way.
Perhaps this may signify the end of HBO as the mega power in regards to headlining boxing ppv events, change the landscape of the sport itself and certainly on how negotiations between networks and athletes are constructed. Most importantly, for any fan of boxing this can potentially help pump more life into the boxing, it certainly brings more awareness for a sport we all love.
Whether Mayweather can complete this six fight deal with Showtime/CBS in a 30 month period is unlikely, but we will have to wait and see.