“But the fact that Floyd generated over a million buys without the benefit of a well-known opponent or an opponent that had been in multiple pay-per-views is a testament to his drawing power. We’re very happy with the result under the circumstances.”
What’s interesting is how this has become such a hot-button issue among those in the industry and those who follow it. From the perspective of the fans, perhaps what they should really care about is not the amount of buys or the total revenue generated or how much Floyd pocketed (since they don’t actually get a cut of the action, even if they do sport “TMT” gear) but how the guidelines of this six-fight, 30-month deal will affect who Mayweather will face in the future. Because the fights are what fans ultimately care about the most.
It’s well-known that Mayweather has a lucrative guarantee under this pact. The question is, does Showtime have some sort of approval power in regard to his opponents and how far-ranging is it?
“Absolutely, absolutely,” stated Espinoza. “Everyone that was party to the deal, we all agreed - and we’re not going to get too much into the details - but I have all the creative and opponent approval that a network would have under any circumstances. And more importantly, I know what Floyd’s intentions are. We know what actions he’s taking and those are consistent with what he’s been saying. And what he’s been saying is, ‘I want to be more active and I want to fight the best available opponents.’
“We’re sitting here six days after the fight and there’s already serious conversations for Mayweather and [WBC/WBA junior middleweight titlist Saul] ‘Canelo’ [Alvarez]. Well, that shows me Floyd is serious about what he said.”
A bout between Mayweather and Saul Alvarez (who unified his junior middleweight title by defeating Austin Trout on April 20th in front of nearly 40,000 rabid fans at the Alamodome in San Antonio) is perhaps the biggest fight that can be (realistically) made in boxing.
“I am more confident now than I was a few days ago,” said Espinoza, of those early talks. “Let me be clear; there’s still a lot of negotiating to do but in general, the biggest obstacle is often whether one fighter or the other sincerely wants the fight. That obstacle’s been cleared. So to me, that’s sometimes the hardest thing to achieve. We’re past that; now it’s about numbers and fight parameters and things like that. But typically, when two parties want the same things - sincerely want the same thing - then I tend to be pretty optimistic they’re going to be able to get there.”
One pressing issue would be the weight this fight be contested at (Alvarez is a junior middleweight and Mayweather is a weight class below him at 147 pounds). Also, Alvarez is going to command far more than the $3 million that Guerrero received last weekend. If this fight isn’t consummated for September the 14th, then who lands on it? After all, it is Mexican Independence Day Weekend. Wouldn’t it make more sense for “Canelo” to headline on this day?
Espinoza says, “It really depends on the match-up. It’s a nice problem to have, to have two viable options on one of the two biggest dates of the year. Either way, it’s going to end up fine and in this particular case, if we look back at the last three weeks, ‘Canelo’ went two weeks before the holiday and Mayweather went on the holiday and they both had monster events.
“So that’s the good thing about having fighters of this caliber and of this magnitude. But whether it’s [September] the 7th, 14th or 21st, whoever ‘Canelo’ fights, whoever Floyd fights, there’s going to be massive attention.”
It’s funny if you think about it; if you believe those who say Mayweather-Guerrero was a financial disaster for Showtime or the network’s number, you’re really talking about a difference of around 100-150,000 buys. Even at a million or so buys, with Mayweather’s huge guarantee ($32.5 million for this last outing), this event may have lost money.
But from the start, the event had some obstacles in its way that may have hampered sales.
“We had some idiosyncratic factors in this promotion,” Espinoza admitted. “One was the late start. Two, was that there wasn’t a kickoff press conference because again, probably because of the late start among other things. We also got thrown a curveball in the incident [with Guerrero] at JFK and legal issues and difficulties in giving interviews in the aftermath of that. But having said all of that, there’s always curveballs in every promotion. So it comes with the territory.
“Would we have done better with a few more weeks without that incident? Probably so. But that’s life and you play the cards that you’re dealt and we’re happy with the hand that we played with those cards.”