When Floyd Mayweather announced he was leaving HBO for a new deal with Showtime, the balance of power in boxing broadcasting moved with him. HBO has long ruled the sport, but that is due in large part to their long association with Mayweather.
The agreement Floyd Mayweather reached was a six-fight, 30-month deal which will likely take him to the end of his career. For boxing fans, the move also allows the sport to get extra exposure since Showtime is owned by CBS. Ultimately, the move appears to be a great one for all involved, except of course, HBO which lost the biggest draw in the game.
Jim Lampley has been for many years, the voice of HBO boxing. As a result, he knows full well the importance of Floyd Mayweather. On Thursday, he stopped by The Mighty 1090 in San Diego with Scott and BR to discuss Mayweather's leaving and the impact it will have on the network.
Talking about his initial reaction when he heard the news, Lampley admitted losing Floyd was a blow, but also was quick to throw doubt in the direction of the newly departed fighter.
“Well, it’s not a happy occasion because he is still the number one, most accomplished, pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and probably the toughest one to defeat in the ring. He has a following and that’s been proven by his pay-per-view numbers on HBO, so you can make a very sound argument that he has the largest following in the sport.
I don’t think that was true a couple of years ago, but obviously (Manny) Pacquiao has been diminished over the course of the past couple of years. Floyd is within his rights in now claiming to be the number one guy. He was already the highest paid athlete in the world prior to whatever money CBS has given him. You can rest assured it’s a mammoth deal because they have a reported five fights over the course of the next 30 months. I will believe that when I see it, but those are supposedly the terms of the deal.
This is something that CBS/Showtime have been working on for a long, long time and in the past year they have sharpened their knives and worked even harder than ever before to try to get into this arena. It’s been no secret in the sport that over the course of the past year Showtime has done all, or maybe 90 percent of their business with Golden Boy Promotions. They have catered favorably to guys who are managed by, Al Haymon, Floyd Mayweather’s manager, so this approach took place on a lot of different fronts. They worked as hard as they possibly could. Congratulations to the guys at Showtime and now let’s see if any of those five fights in 30 months, if in fact they take place, are competitive, or is Floyd going to use this to continue to book flights for which we know the outcome in advance? That would be the big question to me.”
Asked if he thinks Floyd Mayweather still has enough in the tank to be the top name in boxing for the length of the contract, Jim Lampley again complimented the fighter while at the same time offering some negative remarks about his unwillingness to accept tough fights.
“He’s 36-years-old, just about 36-years-old, and obviously he is relatively untouched for fighter that age because of the style in which he fights, and the brilliant skill that he brings to it. At 36-years-old, I think what they can hope for is that he’s slowed down enough that the fights become a little more exciting. Whether they can persuade him to fight a Canelo Alvarez or an Adrien Broner, the kinds of opponents who could really threaten him and present the possibility of a Mayweather loss, I’m not sure.
Leonard Ellerbe has a lot of leverage and a tremendous management style. He is very hard to deal with and it’s very clear that this is a risk averse fighter that has been risk averse his entire career. He’s not exactly in the business of making exciting fights. It will be interesting to see what they can get out of this for the next few years.”
Obviously at Mayweather's age, it is difficult to tell how much, if any he will slow down over the next couple of years. However, it is hard to deny the move was a smart one by CBS if they are serious about becoming the leader in boxing. Jim Lampley has never been a fan of Floyd Mayweather's, therefore it comes as no surprise that he was insulting of him on the way out. It will be interesting to see if HBO makes any sort of move in an effort to counteract Showtime's.