Showtime has named Stephen Espinoza to serve as exec veep and general manager of the cabler’s sports and event programming.

He replaces Ken Hershman, who had run Showtime’s sports division since 2003 before leaving in October to succeed Ross Greenburg as HBO sports prexy.

Espinoza comes from the firm of Ziffren Brittenham, where he represented athletes including Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya, and also served as lead counsel for De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. That expertise puts him in position to tackle his new responsibilities with Showtime, where he will oversee development and strategy of cable and pay-per-view programs that notably include Showtime Championship Boxing.

Espinoza has also repped entertainment industry names including Keanu Reeves, James Spader, Vanessa Hudgens, Alicia Keys, Eminem, Shakira, Tyler Perry, Barry Sonnenfeld, Scott Rudin and Gavin Polone. He has experience structuring and negotiating distribution, financing, debt and equity arrangements for independent television and film companies.

“Stephen has had a great career that spans sports, entertainment, television and film,” said Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank. “His deep experience in a variety of fields and incredible knowledge and contacts within the boxing and mixed martial arts communities will be an asset to Showtime as we continue to expand our offerings.”

Espinoza will report to Blank, while Showtime exec producer David Dinkins Jr., programming VP Jock McLean and production VP Gordon Hall will report to Espinoza.