Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza came in to the Everlast studio, and was a gracious and patient guest, taking queries on the “Talkbox” podcast.
Some of the questions had nothing to do with boxing, even.
Such as when I asked Espinoza, who attended UCLA law school, if he’d ever smoked up with ex-client Snoop Dogg.
“No. I’d say no, technically. Were he and I sitting there smoking, no. Anytime you have a meeting on set, in his trailer, it’s in the atmosphere.
“Was I offered and did I partake? No and no,” he said. “He’s one of my favorite guys in the world, big combat sports fan, boxing and MMA.”
Espinoza also showed vulnerability admitting that he’d engaged in a comfort food binge on the way over. Quarter pounder, no cheese, and fries, he said, he likes to do maybe once a month.
More tidbits: ESPN said that Dana White and UFC did indeed do a pitch to CBS/Showtime to buy a UFC rights package. Espinoza wasn’t in the meeting, he said, but it was persuasive. Not enough for CBS to buy in, he stated. And yes, Dana White isn’t president of the Espinoza fan club, and the cable exec isn’t totally sure why, he told me.
We also discussed the wider world of boxing at large, like the entity of PBC. They have overlap with Showtime, he agreed.
“PBC is not a failure as far as those guys (like Errol Spence, the Charlos, etc.),” he said. No, PBC didn’t become a UFC sort of an entity, but no, he’d not characterize the Al Haymon venture as a “failure.”
More info: A Twitter reader asked when we’d see prime time fights on CBS. Will we see one before the end of the year on CBS? “I hope so,” the executive told us.
All in all, a good session, lively and fun and, I think, informative. Give it a listen.