The huge boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor goes down in just a few days, and it seems that everyone is offering up their opinion on many different aspects of the spectacle. One person with an inside view of things is Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Executive VP and the man that McGregor referred to as a “f—king weasel” on stage at one of the early world press tour stops.
Espinoza has worked with Mayweather as the broadcaster of his fights for years and has generally been known as a straightforward guy, so in an interview with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, he was able to give some insight about a few different things fans have been interested in.
The first was the lack of Mayweather training footage in the All Access and Embedded videos. Espinoza explained that Mayweather has been doing these sorts of promo videos for Showtime for many years, and after a while he felt that the training footage had run its course and it would be boring. Fair enough.
Next up was Showtime not using the footage of the sparring sessions between McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi. This has been explained before, but basically Showtime was only sent a small snippet from Conor’s camp, since they weren’t allowed to film it themselves due to McGregor associating Showtime with Mayweather. The footage was all Conor, a bit repetitive, and not of high quality according to Espinoza. They were given the ultimatum of using all of the tape or none of it, so they chose none.
Next up was talk of Malignaggi being a part of the broadcast team (he still is), and then he was asked if he was interested in a Malignaggi vs. McGregor boxing match next year:
“We are if the fans are. At the end of this, we’re here to serve an audience. So if there is demand, if there is interest among the audience...there seems to be. I certainly don’t want to count chickens, or dictate, but...but based on a variety of different factors there seems to be interest. So if that’s something Conor and the UFC wanted to entertain, and Paulie’s willing to come out of retirement, it would certainly be - we wouldn’t stand in the way. We’d certainly want to participate.”
Espinoza then confirmed that Pat Miletich will be a part of the broadcast as well. After discussing women’s boxing continuing on Showtime, he is asked point blank if he thinks Mayweather vs. McGregor will break the PPV buy record currently held by Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao. He gave a surprising answer, but had a decent reason for it:
“I am definitely on the fence. I do not believe it will, just because I never believe that it’s going to be, I’m just conservative by nature. Do we have the potential? Absolutely.”