Floyd Mayweather is finally going to fight Manny Pacquiao. After six years, it seemed impossible but with hard work and perseverance the deal was done. There are so many people to thank. We all know Floyd will be thanking himself and his promoter Al Haymon while Pacquiao will be thanking God and Bob Arum for getting the deal done. Now there are reports that there is one man, above all else, which we may have to thank… Mr. Leslie Moonves.
Les Moonves is the current President and CEO of the CBS Corporation. Previously, he was co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom. Les Moonves is an alpha-dog in the media game… a very powerful guy. How powerful? An ESPN Deportes source is claiming Les Moonves is powerful enough to have single-handedly given the nudge to both Al Haymon and Floyd Mayweather to make the Pacquiao fight happen. To repeat: a very powerful guy.
Al Haymon currently has deals in place to put his new “Premier Boxing Champions” (PBC) series on NBC, CBS and SpikeTV in 2015. This is in addition to his established relationship with Showtime. CBS and Showtime both fall under the CBS Corporation while Spike TV is a Viacom channel. Les Moonves has run both of these companies at one point or another, and they both happen to be subsidiaries of National Amusements Inc.
If you can follow all of that, you will have already realized that Les Moonves’ fingerprints are all over most of the deals that Al Haymon has been making. He seems to act as a gatekeeper to almost everything AL Haymon has planned in the near future. It is not my place to say that Al Haymon is beholden to Moonves, but as a very powerful business partner, I’m sure it is in Haymon’s best interests to keep him happy. Or as ESPN Deportes source claims:
“He is who controls the operation of Al Haymon. He’s the one in control of Showtime; CBS also has control on Spike TV, CBS, and Stephen Espinoza. If you do[Moonves] wrong, it’s like shooting yourself in the foot ”
Moonves was involved in the $200 million deal that brought Floyd Mayweather to Showtime. This deal has underperformed by all accounts except for the very successful Mayweather-Alvarez fight. While an underperforming deal with Mayweather would never be able to sully Moonves’ stellar reputation in the industry, I doubt he would pass on the opportunity to put some shine on it.
There have been unconfirmed whispers around boxing that Floyd and Haymon would wait until their contract with Showtime were up before they would make the fight with Pacquiao. Waiting would then allow them to pocket a larger slice of the profits from the mega-fight. Unfortunately for them, Moonves recognized the opportunity to save his underperforming $200 million deal and demanded that the fight get done.
“Demanded” is not an overstatement if you are to believe ESPN Deportes’ source:
“The only thing that happened there is that Les Moonves, who is the chief executive of Showtime and CBS Corporation, made the correct pressure over Al Haymon. He made Haymon not move from the negotiating table until the deal was all ready,” he added
It’s a story that seems pretty hard to believe until you read about Moonves’ history within the industry. We like to think of guys like Haymon and Mayweather as being masters of their own destiny, and in many ways that is true. Floyd himself has said over and over again that he is his own boss, and I’m sure he believes that but in deals as large as these, even the most powerful guys need partnerships. Call it “feeding the monkey,” call it “serving their masters”… in the end, it’s just how business is done.
The fighters can thank whomever they want but it sounds like the fans should be thanking Mr. Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, for the chance to watch Floyd Mayweather fight Manny Pacquiao live from The MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 2, 2015.