MANILA, Philippines – Unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s historic deal with Showtime and its parent company CBS Corporation will be a boost to the sport of boxing, the fighters’s chief adviser, Leonard Ellerbe said.
Mayweather ended a long relationship with cable network HBO and signed a six-fight, 30-month contract with its rivals Showtime, in what may be the richest deal in boxing history.
“It’s a tremendous day. This is historic and groundbreaking,” Ellerbe told Boxing Scene’s Rick Reeno. “Showtime/CBS, they stepped up to the plate and they made it perfectly clear that they want Floyd Mayweather.”
“This is great for boxing,” he added. “What (Mayweather) is doing, is once again, he is going to be able to crossover and bring more eyeballs to the sport.”
Mayweather, who last year was the highest paid athlete in the world, will gain more fans worldwide because of his move to Showtime, said Ellerbe.
“This will enable Floyd to bring more visibility to the sport, which will attract more fans to the sport,” he said.
“When you look at young fighters out there, they mention one name and one name only,” Ellerbe said, adding that the “young people from ages 18 to 34” watch boxing because of Floyd Mayweather.
“Because he brings entertainment, he has a tremendous amount of charisma, and when he comes, he comes to perform,” he said. “And the fact that nobody has been able to solve that puzzle.”
“He brings so much more to the sport than just the fights. Floyd’s fights are events.”
In a separate interview with RingTV.com, Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said Mayweather’s move to Showtime meant that the network is now a true rival to HBO. [http://ringtv.craveonline.com/blog/177313-qaa-schaefer-discusses-mayweathers-move-to-showtime]
“There was a time when Showtime really couldn’t compete with HBO because of many reasons, but those days are over,” said Schaefer, adding that Showtime has caught up with HBO’s subscription base in the past few years.
“When it comes to the kind of fighters who have left HBO to go over to Showtime, it’s not just Golden Boy fighters... These guys made their own decisions and decided that they had more opportunities over at Showtime than they did at HBO,” he added.
Mayweather's first fight on Showtime will be on May 4, when he takes on Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.