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Espinoza talks Wilder-Fury, Anthony Joshua, and May-Pac 2

Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza talks about plans for Floyd Mayweather’s return to boxing.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

In this video interview with our colleagues at Fight Hub TV, Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza discusses a number of topics, including his thoughts on Wilder-Fury and Floyd Mayweather’s latest comeback to boxing. Check out some excerpts below...

Espinoza on his PPV expectations for Wilder-Fury:

“The price point will be something around what has been typical. I mean, I think we saw slightly higher prices certainly for the big mega ones like Mayweather-McGregor — it’s not gonna be that price. I doubt we’ll even get to the Canelo-GGG price. [The price] hasn’t been set yet but, you know, the reality is fight is a mega, mega fight but we’re also cognizant that’s a big commitment, that’s a big dollar figure for a lot of people. So, you know, it’s certainly a high enough profile fight to charge that. I doubt we’ll get that high.

“If we look historically where pay-per-view careers have been launched, you know, there’s a range that virtually everyone has sort of fit into, whether it’s De La Hoya, whether it’s Mayweather, Pacquiao, and even Canelo. And they’ve all been in the 300-ish range. And, you know, if we’re in that range we’d be absolutely fine. If we’re up above that then all the better.

“I mean I think we do have the potential for breaking out because you have two incredible personalities here. You know, you can’t get these guys to shut up even if you wanted to. So great quotes, likable personalities, accessible personalities, and they’re willing to do the work. You know, not every fight nowadays is sitting there doing hours and hours [of promotion] and Deontay’s been doing radio since 7:00 a.m. this morning — same as in New York yesterday, same as he did in London the day before.

“So when you have guys who have the personality who are willing to work this hard, you know, it’s a great asset to have as a network executive.”

On if making Wilder-Joshua (assuming Wilder beats Fury) will be a problem since Joshua’s aligned with DAZN:

“Umm, I don’t think so. You know, DAZN has been very clear, Eddie Hearn has been very clear that they don’t believe in the pay-per-view model...they don’t believe in the model, they never want to do the model, they don’t have to do the model. You know, we’re not asking for a long-term deal, we’re asking for one fight and I doubt that the networks and platforms are gonna get in the way of a all-time heavyweight unification, undisputed title fight.

“So I don’t think that platforms will be an issue. There had been some, you know, failures to communicate, you not, not really getting on the same page deal-wise before, but the reality is that fight needs to happen in 2019.”

On why the deal fell apart for this year:

“I’ll start from this: I know Deontay wants the fight very badly, and I’ve spent some time with AJ and I believe that he genuinely wants the fight. So you start there and you would think ‘okay, that’s simple enough.’ But then there’s a lot of other factors. There’s other advisors, there’s trainers to weigh-in, there’s managers to weigh-in, there’s promoters, there’s the DAZN factor. I think DAZN and Eddie were very motivated to get DAZN launched with a big splash. They needed Anthony Joshua because he’s by far the most attractive asset on that. So I think that was one obstacle.

“It’s complicated, you know. Quite honestly I think there were mistakes made on both sides. But I did think the fight would happen 2018, especially when I saw what was a completely legitimate, verified offer for $50M as a guarantee to the Joshua side. A $50M purse would’ve been the biggest purse ever paid to a heavyweight, would’ve been the most lucrative heavyweight fight in history. From my perspective it’s really surprising to see someone turn that down. I understand he’s got a great fan base there in the UK and they’re doing great business, but it surprised me.

“Having said that I think this is too big a fight, it’s too of an opportunity, there’ll be too much public pressure for this fight not to happen in 2019.”

On if Floyd Mayweather is really going to come back to boxing:

“I understand why people were skeptical because of the way that viral video was made...I think Floyd, you know, spoke what had been on his mind, which is he’d like to do a rematch if there’s interest. And so part of that was ‘hey, let’s gauge the interest, let’s see what the reaction was,’ and from my perspective — and I’ve spoken to him, he agrees — there’s certainly interest. You know, will it be as big as the first one? I mean, who knows. Didn’t expect that one to do what it did. But there’s still interest at this point. They’re still two huge names and I think it will happen.”

On if Floyd would have a tune-up first or go straight into a Pacquiao rematch:

“That is sort of — there’s one guy who knows that, you know, and there’s some stuff that Floyd likes to keep to himself and be a surprise and sort of spring it on all of us, including the network. So, you know, he might have something up his sleeve but I think at worst case we’re looking at early 2019 for Mayweather-Pacquiao. You know, that’s a guess. Ultimately Floyd’s gonna make the call when he’s ready and there’s a lot of work that has to be done to get from here to an actual event but I would say that it is definitely something that we’re seriously working to.”

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