Showtime is back in the Canelo Alvarez business.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Showtime will produce and distribute the telecast of Alvarez’s pay-per-view fight against Caleb Plant on November 6 from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. FOX Sports was long believed to be the network that would produce and distribute the event, but Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza negotiated with Al Haymon for over a month and made an enticing offer to handle Alvarez-Plant.
Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions has broadcast contracts with FOX Sports and Showtime, but FOX has yet to pick up the fourth-year option on its deal with PBC. FOX Sports will co-distribute the third Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder heavyweight championship fight along with ESPN on October 9 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It is unclear if FOX’s shorter commitment to PBC was a factor in Haymon picking Showtime to distribute and produce Alvarez-Plant.
ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger first reported that Showtime will handle the Alvarez-Plant fight late Saturday night on Twitter.
Mexico’s Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs), who is generally regarded as boxing’s biggest star in the United States, agreed to a one-fight deal with Haymon’s company primarily because Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) owns the only super middleweight title Alvarez needs to become the sport’s first fully unified champion in the 168-pound division. Alvarez, 31, and Plant, 29, will fight for Alvarez’s WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles and Plant’s IBF belt.
An official announcement of Showtime’s involvement in the Alvarez-Plant event probably will be made Monday. A press conference to promote Alvarez-Plant is scheduled for Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
ViacomCBS, the parent company of Showtime and BoxingScene.com, is expected to allocate plenty of its vast resources toward marketing the Alvarez-Plant fight. It likely will be promoted during CBS’ telecasts of NFL games on Sundays and college football games on Saturdays, as well as during other popular programming, over the next six weeks.
Showtime televised or distributed five consecutive Alvarez fights from September 2012 through July 2014.
Three of those bouts – wins over Alfredo Angulo and Erislandy Lara and his lone loss to Floyd Mayweather – headlined Showtime Pay-Per-View events. His 12-round points win against Austin Trout aired live on Showtime in April 2013, as did Alvarez’s fifth-round stoppage of Josesito Lopez in September 2012.
Alvarez’s 12-round, majority-decision defeat to Mayweather helped generate 2.2 million buys and nearly $150 million in pay-per-view revenue.
The four-division champion signed a multi-fight deal with HBO following his controversial split-decision victory versus Lara. The first fight of that agreement – a third-round knockout of James Kirkland – aired live on HBO.
His six subsequent fights with HBO all were pay-per-view main events. Once HBO announced its decision to leave the boxing business in September 2018, Alvarez quickly aligned with DAZN.
Alvarez’s reported 10-fight, $365 million deal with DAZN never truly materialized. The Guadalajara native eventually renegotiated an agreement with DAZN after Alvarez parted ways with longtime promoter Oscar De La Hoya late last year.
Alvarez’s past three fights – wins against Callum Smith, Avni Yildirim and Billy Joe Saunders – were streamed by DAZN, but also were offered through traditional pay-per-view platforms in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.