COMMENTARY | Floyd Mayweather shocked the boxing world today by announcing an exclusive multi-fight deal with Showtime and parent company CBS, as well as confirming his long-rumored bout against Robert Guerrero on May 4.
The deal was announced on Tuesday afternoon via a press release from Mayweather Promotions, which touted the "record-breaking" deal as not only the biggest in boxing, but also, "the richest individual athlete deal in all of sports" if Mayweather sees the deal to completion.
Financial details of the arrangement have not been made public, but what we do know is that Mayweather will fight up to six times over the next 30 months, exclusively on Showtime Pay-Per-View. His fights will also receive extensive promotion and coverage on CBS and the various other channels and platforms under the CBS Corporation umbrella.
It's an ambitious plan, as Mayweather's next fight will be just his third in a three year span. However, it sounds as if Mayweather won't have to fight that many times, but could simply seek out and fill that sort of busy schedule if he wanted to. It would certainly be great for boxing to have Mayweather being so active, and taking on the best challengers available.
Mayweather earned an average of $42.5 million for his last two fights against Miguel Cotto and Victor Ortiz, and was named the highest paid athlete in the world by Forbes Magazine. He accomplished this not only through his sheer star power, and selling millions of pay-per-views, but also by staying ahead of the game and taking steps to earn money on everything from stadium concessions to t-shirt sales at his fights, breaking new ground for boxers.
This deal, described as "unique revenue-sharing arrangement", figures to net him even more. It's likely that Mayweather will be getting a huge cut of the pay-per-view sales, and while it's just speculation, he could potentially have some kind of arrangement where he earns more money based upon Showtime bringing in new subscribers.
Mayweather would not have opted to move away from HBO if the upside wasn't huge here. It seems to be a combination of earnings potential as well as exposure guaranteed through CBS, to continue elevating his star status to an even greater level. As a result, I'd expect him to bring in $50 million or more per fight, although that figure is also just speculation.
Showtime can afford to give Mayweather extra upside for the revenue he generates, because this move will get the network a huge amount of exposure and prestige. It's not every day you take the best fighter and biggest star in the sport away from your arch-rival (HBO), who is known for having a bigger purse and a higher profile.
More details will be coming about Mayweather's fight against Robert Guerrero and this deal with Showtime. It's likely that the Mayweather vs. Guerrero Showtime PPV will also feature Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Austin Trout, making it a huge blockbuster event with two high-profile and competitive fights, and a lot of big names involved.
This plan would also lead to a fight between the winners, presumably Mayweather and Canelo, in September, in what would be another massive event.
Mayweather's move to Showtime will reverberate throughout boxing for a long time to come, and it's a tough blow to rival HBO, which had been Mayweather's home for much of his professional career.
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com, where you can find breaking news stories, interviews, rankings and more. You can also follow Jake and ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.