HBO PPV Lands Broadcast Rights For Bradley-Marquez Fight; Showtime, CBS Prep For Floyd
Timothy Bradley Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez are slated to headline an HBO PPV card at Las Vegas' Thomas & Mack Center on Sept. 14, "Mexican Independence Day weekend," according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. That weekend is "usually is the target for a major fight involving a top Mexican boxer," such as Marquez. Top Rank Chair Bob Arum said that Marquez “agreed to the deal to face Bradley last week, after which Marquez talked openly about the fight, even though Bradley had not yet come to terms.” Bradley’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, said the fighter reached a "deal in principle" on Monday. Arum said that he would “move the match to Oct. 5 or Oct. 12" if Floyd Mayweather Jr. "winds up going on the same date, in order to avoid a conflict with Golden Boy Promotions for a second consecutive year.” Mayweather is “scheduled to defend his welterweight crown against Robert Guerrero on May 4 on Showtime PPV but has said all along that he planned to return Sept. 14.” Arum: "Marquez and Bradley is a huge fight, especially with Hispanics, so we'd like to do it on Sept. 14. Nobody can say we're jumping Golden Boy's date. We have a date in reserve in case Mayweather fights on Sept. 14” (ESPN.com, 4/23). Canelo Alvarez, who also is from Mexico, has been rumored as a possible opponent for Mayweather on that date, and Arum said, "If he fought ‘Canelo’ Sept. 14, then it’d be stupid for me to go head to head, and we’d probably move the date. But I think the chances of that happening are remote” (L.A. TIMES, 4/24).
STEPPING INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: USA TODAY’s Jon Saraceno profiles Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Stephen Espinoza and notes he has "aggressively made moves to challenge HBO’s dominance” in boxing since joining the net 17 months ago. Last Saturday's Alvarez-Austin Trout fight “produced Showtime’s third-highest-rated boxing show since 2004 with a peak of more than 1 million viewers for the main event.” Espinoza said, “My task is to make this the best sports department I can.” However, Saraceno notes signing Mayweather is “his biggest bet,” as a lot “rides on the Mayweather deal in Espinoza’s second year” at Showtime. Mayweather and co-manager Al Haymon “pitched the deal to Showtime.” The net, “infused with cash from parent corporation CBS, was all-in." Showtime “hopes broader exposure of Mayweather along CBS’ platforms will deliver a more mainstream audience.” Their “shared goal is to continue to narrow the subscription gap” -- Showtime has 22 million subscribers while HBO boasts 29 million (USA TODAY, 4/24).
WEIGHT FOR IT: In Michigan, Josh Slagter reported CBS Sports Network “will be airing the weigh-in live” for Saturday's Mayweather-Guerrero fight, and will “show the postfight press conference.” The network also will “re-air many of Mayweather's recent fights, as well as Guerrero's past two victories” (MLIVE.com, 4/23).