What Mayweather’s Defection to Showtime Means for Boxing
- Updated: February 22, 2013
The nickname ‘Pretty Boy’ was birthed by amateur teammates of one Floyd Mayweather Jr. for his penchant of not getting visibly marked up while throwing his fists due to his defensive prowess, which was evident even then while wearing head gear, before his near two-decade professional career that will lead to an automatic Hall of Fame induction five years post termination of said professional career.
The nickname stuck throughout his career, embroidered on custom boxing robes worn during entrances and called out energetically by Hall of Fame inductee Michael Buffer during HBO telecasts of Mayweather’s fights.
Within the last few years, the Las Vegas resident shelved the moniker Puff Daddy style and developed a new one: Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. The new nickname matched the bank account as with his ascension to No. 1 P4P status and crossover appeal into the mainstream media via stints on WWE and DWTS, boxing paychecks have continued to get higher and higher for the multi-division title winner as well as HBO pay-per-view revenue payouts.
In May 2012, Mayweather was quoted explaining the change.
“The nickname ‘Money’ came from when I was joking and throwing money into the camera, so it stuck with me,”
“You can’t be a 35-year-old man calling yourself ‘Pretty Boy.’”
On Tuesday it was informally announced through media outlets that in addition to Mayweather agreeing to face WBC interim title holder Robert Guerrero, the boxer also inked a new television network deal. Mayweather traded in his HBO banner that had been meticulously placed behind him during PPV camera shots for so many years and signed on with rival network Showtime for a record breaking, thus far undisclosed amount of, you guessed it:
***“For years, Showtime played backseat to HBO; now, they find themselves behind the wheel with a passenger that is the best boxer on the planet.”***
While you have to figure that it took at least eight-figures to convince the top fighter in the world to go across the street, it stands to reason that yes, Mayweather most likely did receive a record TV network deal unheard for a professional fighter, it just may be boxing as a whole that will profit more out of the deal.
What? ‘Money’ Mayweather out-punched in the deal?
Perhaps and perhaps not, but let us explain this point of view.
We’ve seen major boxing stars make moves across networks in the past, most notably with Mike Tyson and more recently with Manny Pacquiao (involving the very same networks above) yet this newest deal seems to differ a bit in the sense that the stipulations apparently enables (Requests? Requires?) Mayweather to fight up to six times within 30 calendar months.
Below is the official press release from Mayweather Promotions:
LAS VEGAS (Feb. 19, 2013). Undefeated eight-time world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather, boxing’s pound-for-pound king and the highest paid athlete in the world (Forbes, 2012), has entered into a groundbreaking pay-per-view deal with Showtime Networks Inc. and its parent company, CBS Corporation. Under the new deal, SHOWTIME PPV® will collaborate with CBS Corporation to comprehensively promote Mayweather’s events on the CBS Television Network and via the corporation’s expansive media platforms.
The deal-a unique revenue-sharing arrangement between SHOWTIME PPV and Mayweather-will enable him to fight up to six times over a period of 30 months, with the first mega-event taking place on May 4, 2013, when Mayweather will fight Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. More details of this upcoming event will be announced shortly.
Mayweather’s new deal is by far the biggest in the sport of boxing (specific financial details are contractually confidential). Mayweather is the PPV king and averages over 1 million PPV buys per event, which is the highest PPV buy average of any boxer in history. At this record-setting PPV performance level, if all six fights contemplated by this deal occur, it will be the richest individual athlete deal in all of sports.
While it is an unlikely scenario being that Mayweather has fought only once per year dating back to 2009 and at the age of 36 next week, it is not likely that Mayweather will increase his productivity two three to four fights a year at this stage of his career, yet even if ‘Money May’ fights twice a year as opposed to once, it will be a huge positive for boxing on a whole.
It would guarantee at least two mega fight, one million plus pay per view type fights a year, which would be an influx of attention thrown at the sport, and via Showtime/CBS outlets as advertisements can be thrown around other major sporting events.
How else does the Showtime deal also benefit boxing?
The sports world will be introduced to a whole new platform on the grand stage, as America is generally used to tuning into HBO PPV and the triumvirate of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and either Larry Merchant or the late great Emmanuel Steward in years past, but now will be shown a new cast of microphone talents, which is sure to include Hall of Fame inductee Al Bernstein, and possibly newest edition and current welterweight champion Paul Malignaggi.
*Note: I recently watched a re-telecast of a Showtime card where Malignaggi interviewed the winner of the bout and was called out by the fighter as a potential opponent. With the new Showtime deal, could we in the future see Malignaggi doing an in-ring interview with Floyd Mayweather and see them call each other out for a fight?
Nothing has been reported on Jimmy Lennon Jr. taking over services for Michael Buffer with MC duties, but you have to imagine JLJ is going to keep his hands on the microphone for Mayweather’s fights and take his own phrase, “It’s Showtime” to the highest level it has been in the sport.
Things will be looking different, or at least new, to non-regular watchers of Showtime during Mayweather fights, from the announcing crew and theme music, to the MC and in-ring interviews. It may not even be a stretch to say that for some, it will feel like watching Mayweather for the first time all over again. That could be a good thing for boxing regulars and it will be a good thing for the newcomers to the sport when Lennon hollers his Showtime line.
It was said to me by a wise older gentleman recently that the only thing that is constant in life is change. Showtime will now be on the grand stage regarding pay per view fights being that they garnered rights to televise Mayweather’s fights, and the ball is in their court to where boxing fans attentions will be in the following years. For years, Showtime played backseat to HBO; now, they find themselves behind the wheel with a passenger in tow that is the best boxer on the planet.
Showtime also has the ability to utilize their 360 series, (a play off of HBO’s 24/7 series made famous by Mayweather) and re-air the episodes on CBS platforms. As CBS hopefully continues to showcase basic cable boxing events, Mayweather promo’s can be shown during those telecasts, as well as when other sports are shown on CBS such as college basketball and golf tournaments. Showtime could really utilize this move and continue to make bigger splashes in the fight game, with boxing reaping the benefits as well.
Perhaps the move even prompts CBS to televise boxing cards on a regular basis, as it would only enhance their Mayweather promotions in the years ahead. That in itself will be the biggest gain for boxing since leaving the mainstream consciousness with the advent of the pay per view system in the 1980’s, and in the long run could be a more lucrative deal than Mayweather’s.
In any case, Mayweather stands to profit from the Showtime deal, and profit he will.
And as in all deals in the sport, boxing will also get its cut.