December 3rd, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez

Showtime VP Stephen Espinosa Wants Supremacy Over HBO

Showtime VP Stephen Espinosa Wants Supremacy Over HBO


San Francisco, CA– Whether or not you were enamored with the Saturday night HBO presentation, you have to say that 2013 is closing well. While a lot of that has to do with Floyd Mayweather domestically, Manny Pacquiao internationally, with Wladimir Klitschko continuing to win and drawing huge numbers in Europe and Asia. In between there was World champ Danny Garcia all but wrecking favored Lucas Matthysse at 140 lbs. Include Guillermo Rigondeaux and his easy spanking of Nonito Donaire


That being said, it’s almost a bad thing that both Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev won last weekend and may clash in a WBC/WBO unification match, a fight I believe will mean real star potential for the victor. Either way, whether the fiery Russian prevails or the slick Black Canadian wins, a star should be born! The “right example” I put at the top of the paragraph is that this is a more than just the unification of 175 lb. titles as promoters Kathy Duva of Main Events who has Kovalev, while Canadian Yvon Michel is with Stevenson, which is a big story that nobody seems to have realized, two promotional entities willing to fight one another and just let the chips (fighters) fall where they may.


The invidious relationship between the two biggest boxing promoters, Bob Arum’s Top Rank and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, have choked out what could be an almost be a “Golden Era” of boxing, meaning the best fighting the best in each weight class. Look, Arum is with HBO and Golden Boy resides at Showtime. And while both promoters and the two cable TV entities have disdain for their counterparts, I think the animosity is legitimate between the promotional entities, but in the HBO vs. Showtime clash, I think they were at first just winking at one another, but that’s not been the case since the release of recent subscription numbers.


HBO cannot sign everybody and if it turns out they go to Showtime and do well, HBO in time offers the fighter more money to return to Time Warner. Case in point, World super middleweight (168 lb.) champion Andre Ward, stared on HBO, was sort of dumped and spent the bulk of his career on Showtime, this before coming back to HBO. With just under 30 million homes domestically attached to the HBO umbilical cord, the formerly named Home Box Office has been the king of cable for decades.


Showtime Making Moves On HBO

Showtime Making Moves On HBO

Mail in and online movie provider Netflix now has more subscribers than HBO with 30,000,000 while HBO has 29 million subscribers. Showtime’s coming in a distant third with 21.3 million homes is a pleasant surprise to all as the network is up from 13.8 million in 2005. From my perspective, this is the most significant factor involving HBO and Showtime’s presentation of boxing in history. In essence, the Avis Rent A Car of cable networks, Showtime, is making a significant move on Hertz/HBO.


This Saturday, Showtime will hold it’s last card of 2013 with Paulie Malignaggi-Zab Judah on top of a card emanating from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY. As the 2014 schedule comes to fruition, it will be a match of wills and money between Top Rank, Golden Boy Promotions, Showtime, it’s parent company Viacom Cable and the folks at Time Warner that run HBO. By the end of 2014, either HBO will step it up, or be on their boxing crown will be awarded to Showtime and their ever so astute Sports Vice President Stephen Espinosa.

Pedro Fernandez


  1. Stephen Espinoza is making things worse in trafficking solely in Haymon/GBP fights. At least HBO is willing to go with other promoters. Showtime was making inroads when it was in its “Great Fights/No Rights” era. Espinoza f’ed it up.

    José-Ariel Cuevas on December 3rd, 2013 at 10:23 PM
  2. This isn’t their last card. Broner fights Maidana the following week.

    KP on December 4th, 2013 at 8:43 AM
  3. José-Ariel Cuevas, you’ve got it all twisted. It was HBO who, following failed negotiations/or better offer from Showtime to Floyd/Haymon, decided to no longer do any business with GBP, therefore creating this you vs me situation. Add Bob Arum to the mix and you can smell intrigue from leagues away. Who’s the loser in all this? HBO mainly.

    todaline on December 4th, 2013 at 3:05 PM
  4. Todaline, I agree somewhat, but Showtime only has Golden Boy fighters on their network. Nothing is stopping them from working with other promoters.

    KP on December 4th, 2013 at 10:11 PM
  5. Yes Kevin, you’re right, nothing prevents them from broadcasting other stables’ fighters. Maybe the same “intrigue” is at work here.

    todaline on December 5th, 2013 at 7:27 AM
  6. Obviously, Showtime has the edge here. Wondering why HBO would put all their eggs in one basket, and old one at that. At least Golden Boy promotions is fairly young and well set up, old Bob doesn’t seem to have anyone worthwhile underneath to run things after he is gone. On the other hand, he may have 20 years left. But where else would they go with King all but gone, Main Event/Duva and Goosen basically on life support, and no new blood on the horizon??

    Richard on December 5th, 2013 at 9:23 AM

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