With big fight approaching, Showtime enters Mayweather season
"All Access" series debut, live three-fight card begin the run-up to network's next pay-per-view endeavor
The calendar still indicates late August.
But as far as Showtime sports programming is concerned, it’s Mayweather season.
Boxing’s multi-belted cash cow won’t return to the ring for another two weeks for his rematch of a tougher-than-expected May bout with Marcos Maidana, but the cable network with which he’s done booming business is going all-in on “Money” beginning this weekend.
Saturday at 9:30 p.m. is the scheduled premiere for “All Access: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2, Episode 1,” the first of three behind-the-scenes looks at the fighters as they prepare for the Sept. 13 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The Maidana rematch is the fourth fight on a six-fight pay-per-view contract Mayweather signed with Showtime early in 2013.
The inaugural show will precede the broadcast of a three-fight card from The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort, at which Mayweather is scheduled to appear and be interviewed.
Three fighters from the Mayweather Promotions stable will participate in the televised matches, headlined by unbeaten 168-pounder J’Leon Love, who’ll meet Mexican journeyman Rogelio Medina -- a loser in four of his last six fights -- in a scheduled 12-round main event.
Love, who’s 18-0 in a career than began four years ago, is ranked anywhere from sixth (by the International Boxing Organization) to 14th (by the International Boxing Federation) in his weight class. The Independent World Boxing Rankings, which list all fighters in a division regardless of where they're positioned by sanctioning bodies, have him 10th.
“My last fight was definitely a learning experience,” Love said, referring to a unanimous 10-round decision over rugged Marco Antonio Periban on the Mayweather-Maidana I undercard, in which he was dropped in round five. “Periban was a title contender and a very experienced fighter. I faced some adversity and I was able to bounce back and come through with a win.”
Medina, now 32-6 in a seven-year career, is not among the top 100 in the super middleweight class.
It’s his third try at a first win outside his home country, too, following a sixth-round TKO loss to Badou Jack -- another Mayweather Promotions property who’ll appear on Saturday night -- last December in Shelton, Wash., and a split 10-round decision defeat to unbeaten Jonathan Gonzalez on May 1 in Hialeah, Fla.
"I've been traveling to my opponents' turf for my last few fights, but I don't really care about that too much,” Medina said. “It's just the two fighters in the ring. There aren't that many fighters in my weight division in Mexico so that's why I have to fight on the road for the good opportunities. I think Love was actually given too much time to recover from the knockdown against Periban. I know that he can be hurt and when I hurt him I plan to be more aggressive than Periban was. I need to take advantage of that.”
Episode 2 of the Mayweather-Maidana pre-fight series will air on Sept. 6, alongside a live fight card from Cincinnati that will feature self-professed Mayweather protégé Adrien Broner in a 12-rounder against Emmanuel Taylor. The series finale airs three days before the fight on Sept. 10.
"I don't have to make any adjustments going into this fight, but (Maidana) does,” Mayweather said. “I won the (first) fight. If I spar against someone and they win three of 12 rounds against me, that's a bad day for me. I am a perfectionist and I set the bar so high. Maidana knows in his heart that he didn't win.”
Weekend Watch List
Showtime -- Saturday, 10 p.m.
J'Leon Love vs. Rogelio Medina -- 12 rounds, super middleweights
Badou Jack vs. Jason Escalera -- 10 rounds, super middleweights
Ronald Gavril vs. Thomas Falowo -- eight rounds, super middleweights
Fox Deportes -- Saturday, 10 p.m.
Juan Pablo Lopez vs. Fernando Torres -- 10 rounds, junior welterweights
beINSports (en Espanol) -- Saturday, 11 p.m.
David Sanchez vs. Anuar Salas -- 10 rounds, junior bantamweights
Ranallo is leaving WWE after 16 months as the voice of SmackDown
Braun Strowman straight flipped an ambulance and Raw added a number of new superstars
Gotch, one half of the former NXT tag team champions, mutually agreed to part ways
Two thrilling debuts added pep to a SmackDown show that suffered from a lack of creativity
The Raw after WrestleMania is always a hot show, and Monday night certainly had its bright...
A WWE fan favorite, Angle was inducted into the Hall of Fame just three days ago