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Friday, January 9, 2009

Undercard to Pacquiao-Hatton: HBO vs. Showtime

Promoter Bob Arum said Monday it's no slam dunk to believe the May 2 Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton junior-middleweight fight will be televised on HBO pay-per-view.

Arum, who continues plotting to get boxing back on network television by arranging sponsors to buy the network's advertising time, says he likes the idea of having Showtime distribute Pacquiao-Hatton on pay-per-view with its parent company CBS advertising the bout or even airing a pre-fight show like HBO has done with its "24/7" reality series.

"Legally, we're free to negotiate with Showtime for this fight, and we will next week in New York," said Arum, who promotes Pacquiao. "This is being talked about seriously. In order for boxing to prosper, it has to be on free network TV. CBS, because of its relationship with Showtime, is best positioned to be the network that does this. [CBS President] Les Moonves is a huge fight fan."

HBO has been the dominant player in pay-per-view boxing, offering such battles as Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya, Hatton-Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the record-setting De La Hoya-Mayweather bout of May 2007.

Arum has shown he's not married to HBO, however, staging his own Top Rank pay-per-view bouts, and now newly empowered by Pacquiao's one-sided triumph over the popular, but likely retiring De La Hoya, the veteran promoter has a trump card to maximize the best possible deal.


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