Stephen Espinoza pleased with present position with Canelo Alvarez
As the November 6 bout between unified super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s) and IBF 168-pound champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (21-0, 12 KO’s) approaches, emotions are clearly running high. In their most recent press event, the two would get ensnared in a minor fracas that saw Plant walk away with a mild gash under his eye. Ideally the slight wound will not cause any delays or disruption to the impending historical bout.
In the wake of the energetic exchange, Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza gave his take on the matter. Unsurprisingly, Espinoza was not all that thrilled with the violent festivities, as he revealed to Fight Hype.
“Personally I do [mind] actually. Philosophically, I’m not in the group of people that believe that’s a good thing. I understand it’s trending, it’s this and that, people are talking; I’m not at all convinced that it translates into a single buy. Yes, people are going to talk about it, yes, it’s going to trend for a while. But the reality is this is a really high stakes fight. It’s going to get plenty of attention, it’s the biggest draw in the sport and we don’t need it. And I think it probably does more negative for the long-term of the sport, and the perception of the sport, than it does short-term good for the promotion.”
SHOWTIME IS A MAJOR PLAYER
While Espinoza is no fan of the brutish theatrics, he is very pleased with his present working relationship with Alvarez. Technically speaking, Canelo is a free-agent who is not tethered to a network contract. This is why the Showtime bigwig was jubilant to snag the rights to the upcoming showdown.
“It was really hotly contested. I mean obviously there is no one in boxing who wouldn’t have wanted this fight. It’s some really good fights on the schedule but this is the fight of the year, probably the biggest draw of the year. It’s history, it’s the undisputed title and we put forth a really aggressive package; marketing, financial and otherwise. And in terms of its importance, I think it’s important in context.
You know, if we got this fight and we we’re having a mediocre year, it probably wouldn’t be as important. It would sort of be, ‘okay you got one good fight,’ but the reality is we’ve got a ton of momentum. We’re coming off a really busy, high-quality year and I think that played into us getting this. I mean our production value, our commitment to the sport, out ability to market and our ability to step up to the plate financially, all of those were roles.”
BEAUTIFUL THINGS TO COME?
On this side of having secured this mega-event, Stephen Espinoza is also equally confident that Showtime will continue doing business with Alvarez. While, as previously mentioned, the redhead has no official ties with the network, Espinoza feels that Showtime has the nutritional substance that Canelo’s career will require.
“We hope so. You know Canelo’s at a point where he can sort of dictate what he wants to do and he has wisely decided that he’s going to do fight-by-fight. But I am comfortable where we are. We’ve gotten a couple of really good assets to offer him in [Jermall] Charlo, in [David] Benavidez and I think those are the legacy defining fights.
At this point, Canelo has everything. He’s got money, he’s got fame, he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s already a legend [in] Mexican boxing. The only reason to stay in the sport is to do big legacy defining fights. That’s not, with all due respect, the guys at 175. The big mega-fights are David Benavidez or the Charlo fights. Those are mega-pay-per-views and those are the fights that fans are going to really go down remembering.”
First things first though, before Alvarez and Showtime can ride off into the sunset, Canelo must take care of business on November 6. If he is not victorious on that date, then all these grand plans will dissolve into muck.
By: Bakari Simpson