ESPN: Three-year agreement and 12 galas

Oh ! That one is a very important one for Quebec boxing. ESPN and Top Rank have signed a three-year, twelve Quebec TV gala deal with Eye of The Tiger Management (EOTTM).

The news should be confirmed today or tomorrow.

This is the first time that a Canadian promoter has signed an agreement of this magnitude with an American network. ESPN is available to 200 million Americans and ESPN+ reaches 22 million fans via streaming.

This means that some fights organized by EOTTM will be televised by the most important sports network in America.

The agreement begins on September 9 and includes the gala of the 16 presented at the Casino de Montreal with Arslanbek Makhmudov: “It’s an extraordinary agreement for Quebec boxing”, explains Camille Estephan.

“The negotiations included Top Rank’s Bob Arum and the top executives of ESPN. We had to protect our Canadian partners. For us, this is significant additional income.

“Eye of The Tiger retains Canadian and international rights, except for the United States, for Punching Grace, and TVA Sports protects its market in the agreement. It was not easy since ESPN belongs to Disney and is a very important shareholder in TSN and RDS,” explained Estephan.


In addition, Punching Grace will produce the programs for both French and English. Just a few years ago, CBS sent 17 production trucks into the parking lot of the Coliseum in Quebec City for an Adonis Stevenson finale with PBC. We have nevertheless come a long way. Estephan should make an offer to a veteran English-language radio commentator in Montreal these days. And I figure Russ Anber might be the analyst for ESPN. But I’m biased, I love Russ.

It goes without saying that Top Rank had to find its account in the agreement since the company enjoys an exclusive contract with ESPN. It’s the case.

Top Rank thus becomes the co-promoter in the United States and in the world of Arslanbek Makhmudov. The Russian giant is worth a fortune. World heavyweight champions generate tens of millions in revenue. With the retirement of Tyson Fury, the market is freeing up and becoming a particularly attractive investment.


In fact, when Makhmudov goes to fight in the finals in Las Vegas, New York or London, his promotion rights will be split between Top Rank and Eye of The Tiger. When he goes to fight in the semi-finals, it will be Top Rank. In Quebec and Canada, in the final or otherwise, its rights belong to EOTTM.

So on September 16, the final featuring Makhmudov against the dangerous Carlos Takam, who fought against Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin, will be an exclusive Eye of The Tiger promotion. The same semi-final fight in New York would be a Top Rank promotion. In the final, it would be half and half.

Camille Estephan is currently negotiating the same kind of agreement for another of his boxers. But it goes wrong on one essential point.

“It’s huge as an agreement. It secures his future. Safety for him and his family. The fact that Artur Beterbiev became a big hit even though he’s Russian probably helped. Bob Arum is 91 years old and very intelligent. He knows when a deal is good for him.

“ESPN will be back on December 16 in Shawinigan for Makhmudov, we hope, and Mary Spencer. It will be an exceptional opportunity to discover such a beautiful city as Shawinigan. It will also allow us to promote our young boxers like Thomas Chabot or Alexandre Gaumont,” said Estephan.

We should know all the details of this partnership in the coming days.


Laurent Poulin of Boxingtown had heard of some sort of agreement with Top Rank. Unfortunately, because of his heartbreak, Laurent mentioned that he wanted to give up the world of boxing. Yet he was gifted.

Lemieux… beautiful tributes

We didn’t know it, but Jean-François Chabot of Radio-Canada and the two journalists from Log attended David Lemieux’s last fight in Phoenix on May 22.

As almost five years ago, we attended with Jean-Charles Lajoie and Danny Tremblay the “last” fight of Jean Pascal in Miami against Ahmed Elbiali.

Since then, Jean Pascal has had time to become world champion again and to face Marcus Browne, Dmitry Bivol, Badou Jack and Fanlong Meng. Three world champions and a No. 1 contender.

Ah yes, I was going to forget Steve Bossé. Holy John…

It’s a rain of beautiful tributes that falls on David Lemieux since the confirmation of his retirement.


It is deserved. The David Lemieux that I got to know is a beautiful person.

He is often introverted, you have to take the time to sit down with him and chat, and above all to listen.

We enter a generous interior made of the courage of a warrior and a sugar daddy. And we discover a man who has concepts of life that are worth hearing.

For the past few days, he has been going to the hospital every morning to visit, and make his maternal grandmother, aged 101, smile.

He doesn’t trust everyone. Often it is a sign of intelligence and strength of character.


The analysis he made of his career during our last lunch last week was that of a mature man. Able to accept defeat and learn from it.

Rosado, Tapia, N’Dam, Golovkin, O’Sullivan, Stevens, Benavidez, these were wicked beautiful trips. Even when David was losing…

Because fierce courage is often moving and beautiful.

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