Showtime’s Stephen Espinosa is anticipating Canelo Alvarez’s return to the network as the final countdown to his return on Showtime nears as he faces undisputed super-welterweight champion Jermell Charlo at the T-Mobile Arenia in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Espinosa, who has been the long-serving president of sports and event programming at Showtime, has predicted that ticket sales alone for the contest this upcoming Saturday will generate more than $20 million. If Espinosa’s prediction comes to fruition, it will be the third time within six months that a PBC/Showtime event will have exceeded $20 million in ticket revenue alone.
Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia in April and July’s undisputed welterweight showdown between Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford both generated $23 Million (Davis-Garcia) & $21 million ( Spence Jr -Crawford), respectively in ticket sales.
“The event on Saturday night will generate a gate of over $20 million,” Espinoza stated during Wednesday’s final press conference for the Alvarez-Charlo fight. “That’s a rare feat in combat sports. It’s rare in concerts or events of any kind. But this will be the third time in the last six months that we’ve done a gate [in excess] of $20 million. Again, our third $20 million gate in the last six months.”
However, Espinosa then compared PBC’S/Showtime’s current success and the UFC, which Espinoza has suggested has never seen an event generate a gate in excess of $20 million in revenue.
“To put that in perspective, UFC has never done a gate of $20 million in its entire history. We’ve done it three times since April. Like I said, this is special. This is different. There’s nothing else going on in combat sports that matches this type of event. We have to enjoy this event. We need to savour it. This is the best our sport has to offer.”
Espinosa then continued to state that the contest between Canelo-Charlo is a special event, not just in boxing, before reiterating that the PBC/Showtime partnership has had a strong year and that being broadcast is the highest level of the sport, which no one has come to close to replicating Espinosa insinuated.
“This isn’t just a fight,” Espinoza said. “This isn’t just a boxing match. This is special. This is different. This is the best the sport has to offer. This is as good as it gets. Calling Canelo versus Charlo a fight is like calling filet mignon meat. It’s like calling LeBron James a basketball player or calling ‘The Godfather’ just a movie. This is special. This is different. When you drive down the street, you see a lot of cars. And there are cars, and then there are Bugattis, there are Lamborghinis, there are [Koenigseggs]. Not all of them are the same.
“Not all boxing is the same. Not all combat sports is the same. No, what we’re doing here on Saturday night, what’s been going on all year, is special. It’s different. It’s not the same, old boxing. It’s not like the others. And no disrespect to anyone, but there are levels to this. And what we’re doing here is the highest level of the sport. This is a historic matchup. Truly elite, undisputed champion against another elite, undisputed champion. This is special. It’s different.”
Responding to Espinoza, UFC Supremo White was much less courteous in his responses to the claims of Espinoza.
White slammed Espinoza for ‘taking credit at all the shows’ which Showtime is involved in broadcasting and accused Showtime’s head of sports and event programming of being ‘arrogant and delusional.’
“That’s exactly the type of response I would expect from that weasel Espinoza,” White wrote on Instagram. “That scumbag has absolutely nothing to do with the success of Canelo [Alvarez], Ryan Garcia and Terence Crawford. Those guys are mega stars and they are the ones responsible for driving the gates in their fights. For him to even try and take any credit at all shows you what an arrogant, delusional piece of shit that guy is. For this guy to talk about ‘levels’ is hilarious. The production of the fights on Showtime is an embarrassment, and I have been saying that FOREVER. He is a little guy with a big yap and is a complete phony. I’m not at all surprised this is the end for them. It should have come way sooner. Sorry to see you go, Weasel. Enjoy your retirement.”
White’s comments regarding Espinoza’s retirement come as it is speculated that Showtime is rumored to be pulling out of boxing broadcasting in the coming months.