Espinoza on Broner-Maidana PPV (Or Not To PPV), Ortiz, Khan
Word is Adrien Broner's next fight will take place on Nov. 9, against Marcos Maidana. Word is that scrap will be presented on pay-per-view, and as a boxing fan, I will readily admit I don't like seeing this setup. Can you blame me? I'd rather spend less to fund my boxing habit than more.
With that in mind, I spoke to Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza after a "Business of Boxing" luncheon in Manhattan on Wednesday, during which Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, Espinoza, Mayweather Promotions' Leonard Ellerbe and GBP COO Bruce Binkow talked about how "The One" promotion is on track to quite possibly break the record for gross revenue from a PPV, a mark of $132 million set by Mayweather-De La Hoya. (As my Twitter pal Joel Stern pointed out astutely last night, it seems a bit strange for the press to champion a possible record-setting revenue take, playing up the cost of the PPV, which can be as high as $75 if you want it in HD. Ideally, to my thinking, I'd like the boxing fan-consumer to have to pick up less of the freight to watch the best content. And I like to think that the powers that be, the suits, comprehend the average fans' wish to NOT have to dig into their pocket four or five times a year to pay a premium fee, beyond what they already pay for the premium cable channels, HBO and Showtime. To my thinking, you are putting your best fare, the sort of bouts that you want the most eyeballs on, the ones that act as the most potent advertisements, behind a really high paywall...and while that does make sense, short-term, and on the balance sheet annually, it is likely one reason we have seen eyeball growth reduced, or at best, stay static, in the last two decades. I am fairly confident that said suits at least understand this line of thinking, and if they don't embrace it, are open to thinking about other means to structure premium programming so exorbitant costs do not trickle down to the average Joe. As always, I stay optimistic. With that aside, back to our regularly scheduled programming...) I asked Espinoza to provide an update on Broner's next tussle. In fact, will it be Nov. 9, versus Maidana, and as rumored, to be presented on pay per view?
"It's looking like it will be later in the year, likely in December," Espinoza said. Regarding the proliferation of pay-per-view events, what with "The One," and Bradley-Marquez, and then Pacquiao-Rios being PPV events, Espinoza said, "It's a concern for us too. But we haven't completely decided."
If they do go the PPV route, Espinoza said Golden Boy would seek to pack the undercard, to deliver maximum value, as they are doing on "The One" card.
He explained, in so many words, that a Broner-Maidana fight would be a coveted attraction, and could well command upper echelon purses. Those sort of purses aren't tossed about that freely and easily. So, to satisfy the theoretical demands of said fighters, perhaps the only way to do that is to structure the bout so that an additional revenue stream ie PPV, makes the clash possible, sooner rather than later.
Some other faces we could be seeing again on Showtime Espinoza mentioned include Victor Ortiz. We last saw him Dancing, With the Stars, and he was last in the ring in June 2012, when Josesito Lopez stopped him out after nine rounds, and broke his jaw. I dare say there is interest from fans to see if Ortiz, who was shooting a film in Bulgaria last month, "The Expendables 3," is gunshy, or can come back strong. I have to wonder, though, is there interest, real-deal interest, in Ortiz, in returning to the ring? Dancing and films are an easier way to make a buck, so I guess you can't blame the kid for extending his hiatus, can you?
Keith Thurman seems like the sort who harbors no indecision about gloving up; I asked Espinoza about a slot for him. Schaefer wanted to make a Thurman-Robert Guerrero bout, but Team Guerrero didn't bite. Bad style matchup? Too much respect for Thurman's power and growing experience reservoir? Espinoza didn't seem to truly know, but he said he respects the Guerrero crew's assessment of the matchup, and will accede to a Plan B for One Time, who holds the WBA interim welterweight title.
Espinoza said he was sitting down with Schaefer last night, and getting a better handle on WBO middleweight champ Peter Quillin's next move. He likely will fight on the Oct. 26 Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat undercard, and needs a dance partner.
The Dec. 7 date at Barclays Center was also discussed. Espinoza flat out told me that Zab Judah won't be the headliner that night, and it has been written elsewhere that the long-awaited Amir Khan-Devon Alexander scrap will top the bill on that night. Schaefer had been trying to land a big bucks deal in Dubai to host that tangle, for many months, and we will see some clarity on that situation quite soon, I'd guess.
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