According to one of the principal figures in Floyd Mayweather’s promotional organization, it was virtually impossible to turn down the offer that was put forward by Showtime that lured “Money” over from his long-time relationship with HBO.
Leonard Ellerbe, who is the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, the company through which Pretty Boy Floyd takes at least partial control of his boxing fortunes, told boxing reporter Kevin Iole that “Showtime really, really, really, really, really stepped up in what they offered Floyd,” adding that what Showtime (along with CBS Network) came to the table with was “substantially better than what we received from HBO.”
When one has a long-term relationship, it is very easy to be “taken for granted,” as Ellerbe put it, and that is precisely what happened with the HBO people, in his estimation. Through a press spokesman, HBO asserted that it had made an “aggressive” pay-per-view offer, and appears to be more focused on having a relationship with Manny Pacquiao (which had been interrupted by Showtime for a 2011 fight against Shane Mosley) as well as a number of stars on the rise, including Adrien Broner, who stopped Gavin Rees last Saturday.
It is probably true that HBO has, from time to time, looked upon itself as the “only game in town,” leaving itself somewhat vulnerable for something like this to happen. On the other hand, Mayweather is turning 36 this week and he will be pushing 39 before the deal is over. is this what will keep Floyd fighting? And what happens if he stumbles along the way, losing to the foe that is still undefeated, Father Time?
For Mayweather to realize the full benefits of this arrangement, he will have to be much more active; perhaps more active than he has really wanted to be. If you go back over a six-year period, he has competed only six times, and there was a retirement announcement in the middle of all that, after which he returned to dominate Juan Manuel Marquez, who most recently knocked out Manny Pacquiao.
For some in the industry, maybe this is a little surprise, because even though Showtime had pilfered Mike Tyson from HBO back in 1990, the premium channel was not considered to be the equal of HBO as far as spending or developing the boxing “franchise.” But this certainly changes things.
For one thing, because Mayweather can be counted on to produce probably a little more in the way of pay-per-view revenue for middle-of-the-road attractions than his counterpart, Manny Pacquiao, Showtime is going to be the beneficiary of some nice paydays and nice exposure. We say that assuming they can make the numbers work to their satisfaction, and if they have signed a deal, they probably have.
Another factor to consider is that with this deal, they are literally declaring themselves an equal. That means talent, as it becomes marketable, will be able to truly look upon the network as an entity that can compete on even ground for their services, which will prove to be a strong negotiating tool against HBO. This can be exploited in any number of different ways. Also, it is one thing to produce and air relatively inexpensive product like “ShoBox,” but it is quite another thing to be in a position to command the sports world’s attention (or a good deal of it) on any given night. This is what they have cleared a path to do.