Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza took some time to chat with our friend Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV about his failed attempt to sign Canelo Alvarez for a fight in the short-term and what it potentially means for some of the networks biggest fighters around his weight class. Check out some excerpts on what Espinoza had to say on the subjects below.
On Canelo signing with DAZN and how close SHO was to landing the deal
“There was significant discussions with Canelo and his team and I think we were very much in play. I think there was a very aggressive offer on the table, initially for one fight, then later on for two, and a offer which was significantly more lucrative than I believe the offer that was on the table from DAZN. But at the end of the day Canelo and Eddie, they run their own business, they have their own criteria, and if they think that’s what’s right for them then more power to them. We’d love to continue in business with them and who knows, the Charlo fight, the Benavidez fight, there are other fights. He’s done other platforms and business with him, the door remains open and we’d love to do business with him in the future if this one doesn’t work out.”
On if he got any feedback as to why Canelo would turn down a more lucrative offer to go with DAZN
“Not really and look, you know, it’s not something we push if someone says ‘we’re going in different direction.’ Understand. You make your own business decisions and the door remains open, there’s plenty of good fights, he’s got a lot left in his career, and hopefully our paths will cross again in the future. I think we had a very compelling package. I’m certainly not completely objective to it but I think in terms of legacy, I think in terms of the fan appeal, in terms of the excitement and the styles, I think the Charlo fight is the most exciting, the most desirable fight, and probably the most lucrative fight, and probably the biggest event that is possible at this point. So personally if I was in his shoes that’s the fight I would’ve taken but, again, they’re their own men, they make their own decisions, and I’ve got to respect their decisions.”
On where Charlo and Benavidez will turn for big fights
“David has the Lemieux fight, we’re looking to slot that into the schedule. We’re looking at Phoenix, April, May, somewhere there. And with respect to Jermall, look, he was holding out, waiting for this, but if it turns out definitively that we’re not getting the fight then there are a number of opponents that we have talked to and some that are really attractive so I think with a little bit of luck, if we get some cooperation on their end, we’ll be able to announce a fight that’s gonna make a lot of people happy.
“(Caleb Plant) is definitely a possibility. I don’t know specifically how close that fight is but I know there’s a couple other good options that I think will surprise people that I will keep quiet so not to impede the process…Jermall’s looking for a big fight, another big signature win, a statement, another top five, top ten opponent. And we’re doing our best to lock that in for him.”
On if he believes the Bivol fight is the most difficult fight out there for Canelo
“Bivol’s a good, solid, fundamentally sound fighter. And he’s got a good, solid punch. He doesn’t have the quickness, the athleticism, the movement that I think Canelo does. Size is what makes it interesting. It’s not a particularly interesting clash of styles, not every Bivol fight has been the most exciting, but there’s interest in the challenge of seeing Canelo at a new weight class. But at least domestically, here, Latin America, North America, Charlo is a bigger fight, certainly more well known, and is a bigger fight commercially. But if one of the things Canelo wanted to do is cross another challenge and another weight class off his list, well then he’s certainly entitled to make that decision at this point in his career.”