Stephen Espinoza Talks Showtime Making Fights Now Compared To Start Of Pandemic

During the pandemic, several boxing entities and television networks have had to make major adjustments in order to make sure the sport continues to march on.

Showtime was one of those networks who have taken residence in a remote area and held boxing cards with no fans in attendance. From last summer to present day, most boxing cards the network produced took place at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. 

Like with most businesses, it was a challenge at first for Showtime to deal with COVID-19 protocols and still operating to the best of its abilities. With April 10 being the date of Showtime’s next boxing card, headlined by a welterweight matchup between Jaron Ennis and Sergey Lipinets, Stephen Espinoza touched on the changes and adjustments made during the pandemic.

“It has become easier [making fights] in the sense that the health and safety protocols and all the arrangements that we go through that TGB puts forward, that PBC puts forward, both for the fighters and their camps and the production. Everyone’s used to it for the most part. [Jaron Ennis] has been through with it. Sergey has been through it. Everyone who has fought in the past year has been through it. I think that there are a lot of good quality fights happening. When things happen like this pandemic, sometimes it makes people realize how things disappear on a moment’s notice. So I think you do see fighters [take fights],” Espinoza, the President of  Showtime Sports and Event Programming, said. 

The network has been able to bring several top fighters to Uncasville since last year, from Jermall Charlo to Jermell Charlo to David Benavidez to Stephen Fulton to John Riel Casimero and more. In regards to Ennis and Lipinets, both of whom fought in Uncasville for Showtime last year, Espinoza knew a fight like this would happen regardless of whether or not there is a pandemic.

“I think this particular fight between [Ennis] and Sergey, these are guys who never say no to a fight in any way. Pandemic or no pandemic, there’s no problem in getting them tough fights and exciting fights. I think you’d be seeing this no matter what situation we would be in because neither of these guys has the hesitation. You ask him to take the fight, then they take it, no questions asked,” Espinoza said.

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