Jim Lampley could be called the face of the HBO boxing brand, and he was asked his thoughts in a recent radio interview on the huge news this week that Floyd Mayweather would be jumping ship to Showtime for what may wind up being the remainder of his career:
"Well, it's not a happy occasion because he is still the number one, most accomplished, pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and probably the toughest one to defeat in the ring. He has a following and that's been proven by his pay-per-view numbers on HBO so you can make a very sound argument that he has the largest following in the sport."
Lampley says this isn't a sudden thing, and that Showtime and CBS have been moving toward this ultimate goal for a while now:
"This is something that CBS/Showtime have been working on for a long, long time and in the past year they have sharpened their knives and worked even harder than ever before to try to get into this arena. It's been no secret in the sport that over the course of the past year Showtime has done all or maybe 90 percent of their business with Golden Boy Promotions, they have catered favorably to guys who are managed by Al Haymon, Floyd Mayweather's manager. so this approach took place on a lot of different fronts, they worked as hard as they possibly could, congratulations to the guys at Showtime and now let's see if any of those (six) fights in 30 months, if in fact they take place, are competitive. Or is Floyd going to use this to continue to book flights for which we know the outcome in advance? That would be the big question to me."
One gets the feeling Lampley doesn't see Mayweather-Guerrero as being a particularly competitive fight on paper, which is a stance many fans and pundits share, to be honest, though it's a credible fight, like most of Floyd's bouts are credible. Honestly, who could Floyd fight where the vast majority aren't certain of the outcome in advance? Middleweights? That doesn't mean what Lampley says is wrong, but of course (and obviously he knows this, too), it's not a simple black-and-white thing, really.
Lampley thinks there's a possibility that Showtime will have regrets in the long run about the investment in Mayweather, who will not be fighting six times in 30 months in the minds of just about anyone, no matter what the deal says, and whose presence on pay-per-view may not mean anything when it comes to adding to Showtime's subscriber base. But this is also a CBS Sports move, not just a Showtime boxing acquisition; Mayweather adds another star name and sport to the CBS Sports brand, and there's a lot more at play here, I suspect, than just how this works out in terms of boxing alone.