It’s fitting that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., two of boxing’s biggest and brightest stars, are at the forefront of a battle between Top Rank and Golden Boy, as well as Showtime and HBO.
Pacquiao and the rest of Top Rank rocked HBO to its very core this past May, when they opted to take their fight against “Sugar” Shane Mosley to Showtime. While a lot of factors contributed to the decision, HBO’s undeniable tendency to feud with Top Rank’s Bob Arum and tight relationship with Mayweather throughout the negotiations for Pacquiao v. Mayweather played a sizable role. Ultimately, Pacquiao v. Mosley drew the year’s most successful pay-per-view (PPV) totals with 1.3 million buys for Showtime, and shortly thereafter, HBO President Ross Greenburg stepped down from his post.
Now, with September and November poised to be the most carefully watched consecutive months for the sport of boxing in a long while, the feud between all factions involved is once again taking center stage. Speaking with BoxingScene.com, Golden Boy boss Richard Schaefer made it very clear that his -- and as a result, HBO’s -- biggest goal at this point is promoting the heck out of Mayweather’s upcoming match against Victor Ortiz.
“I have no doubt that [Mayweather-Ortiz] will be the most heavily promoted fight in the history of boxing,” said Schaefer about the welterweight title fight scheduled for Sept. 17 in Las Vegas. “No question about it. … I looked back at the marketing plan they had for De La Hoya and Mayweather, and I swear to you, it pales to that. So I’m really excited about it.
“I think the sky’s the limit. And I think the beneficiary is the sport of boxing and those two athletes. Because you have the most skilled [boxer] of our generation and you have a young man which I think is a very tough opponent, who has an amazing story, an amazing personality. All that is why I’m convinced that this will be the biggest pay-per-view event of this year.”
And HBO’s newfound desire to utilize each and every asset that they have thanks to parent company, Time Warner, stems from Showtime’s excellent promoting of Pacquiao v. Mosley through their parent company, CBS.
It remains to be seen, however, if Pacquiao and Top Rank were impressed enough by Showtime’s efforts to re-sign with them for Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez, scheduled for November 12. At the moment, Arum and his group are still evaluating which route is best for them, especially with HBO now realizing that Showtime poses a legitimate threat to their way of handling matches.
September and November promise to be fascinating not only because of the matches scheduled, but because of the implications those matches have on massive entities like Golden Boy, Top Rank, HBO and Showtime.
Stayed tuned, it’s going to be an interesting couple of months.