Showtime’s Exit From Boxing Will Leave a Void

November 15, 2023
3 months

Boxing is a sport that doesn’t want to lose any exposure. While there are plenty of big-money fights, boxing doesn’t draw much mainstream interest outside of a handful of big title fights. There are rumors that Showtime will drop boxing in 2024.

While nothing has been confirmed yet, Showtime’s potential exit from the sport will trigger a chain reaction. Showtime has aired Showtime Championship Boxing since 1986. The network has also produced several pay-per-view events, which rumors suggest could still happen. But for now, several fighters, promoters, and television workers will seek to find work to stay in the business.

This situation is one where the world boxing latest news is hard to confirm. With the lack of mainstream media coverage, there isn’t anyone who has for sure been able to ensure the story is true. The news itself leaked when a social media source posted the information online. Maybe people in the boxing community quickly accepted the rumors, as there have been a lot of similar rumors surrounding Showtime dating back to 2018. While there isn’t much clarity regarding the situation, many in the boxing community don’t seem surprised by the news.

Showtime Boxing Showcased Top Talent

Showtime Championship Boxing debuted on March 10, 1986, with one of the greatest action fighters in the main event. “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler was one of the greatest middleweight champions of all time. He wrapped up his career with a 63-3-2 record.

But for Showtime Boxing, Hagler was able to kick off their show with an intense main event. Hagler was able to batter John Mugabi before finishing him with a knockout in the 11th round. The fight card also featured some fighters who suffered tragedy. James Shuler lost to Thomas Hearns on the under, and a week later, Shuler died in a motorcycle accident.

But, overall, Showtime found a winner with boxing. Over the years, the network featured many famous fights featuring Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, and Evander Holyfield. Showtime was willing to go many different directions with boxing, including featuring some of the fights from Jake Paul. 

Showtime Plots Another Mayweather Exhibition

While there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Showtime Boxing, the company is planning a December 9 PPV card featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr. Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia are also rumored to be fighting on the card. Fights featuring Mayweather are a source of criticism among boxing fans.

No one will ever question Mayweather’s credentials as a champion, but he hasn’t been that fighter for years. Mayweather is 47 and hasn’t fought a professional fight since 2017. All of his recent bouts have been exhibitions. Mayweather fought influencer Logan Paul in 2020 and has since returned to the ring in exhibitions against Mikuru Asakura, Deji Olatunji, Aaron Chalmers, and John Gotti III. Mayweather’s last exhibition fight with Gotti ended in chaos. After the fight was stopped in the sixth round, both fighters’ teams stormed the ring, and fights broke out around the arena.

Streaming Puts Pressure on Sports to Produce

The changing appetite of consumers may be putting pressure on all programming to perform at a certain level. Showtime won’t be the first premium television channel to drop boxing. HBO also did so in 2018. When HBO dropped the sport, executives at the company showed that audience research showed a lack of interest in boxing when signing up for HBO.

Showtime is fully absorbed by Paramount, which has its own streaming service, Paramount+. Paramount will be looking to measure the audience viewership of all media on their platform. Paramount executives have said they don’t want to invest in any product that is below a 10 percent viewership threshold. Boxing will be under the gun to show that it has the interest level to maintain viewership. Rumors are that Paramount plans to shut down Showtime Sports in 2024. 

There is Nothing Official from Paramount

While the boxing community has been buzzing, nothing official has been released from Showtime Sports. The entire rumor mill was started on social media by user “Raf,” who announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Showtime would end its boxing coverage in 2024.

Raf’s X account lists him as being based in Italy. He is a self-proclaimed boxing/UFC analyst but isn’t connected to any major media outlet.

The boxing calendar won’t be impacted for 2023, but anything beyond that is up in the air. Showtime sports president Stephen Espinoza denied the rumors that the boxing division would go away. He has been locked in a war of words with UFC President Dana White over the news.

PBC Looking For New Home For Its Fighters

Premier Boxing Champions was a promotion by Al Haymon in 2015 to try and help give boxing more interest in the mainstream. With Showtime rumored to be leaving the sport, PBC has been searching for another broadcast deal. There is some thought that DAZN may be involved in negotiating, while Amazon has been mentioned as another possible suitor.

PBC had previously partnered with Showtime on several pay-per-views. The bout between Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant in 2021 and would end up with 800,000 PPV buys. The 2019 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Bonner produced 400,000 buys for Showtime.

PBC reportedly has a deal with Showtime through the end of 2024. Alvarez is one of the biggest fighters in the world and is currently signed with PBC. Gervonta “Tank” Davis is a famous American fighter who fights under the PBC banner.

PBC won’t want to wait for the dust to settle with Showtime before moving on. There are several other boxing promotions that already have TV deals. While Alvarez is perhaps the biggest name in boxing, PBC won’t want to keep one of its most popular draws off television. 

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