As much as the boxing world might crave a match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, new HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said the allure of that bout is wearing thin after two years of failed negotiations.
In fact, Hershman told a group of boxing writers during his introductory news conference at HBO's Manhattan office, the back-and-forth between Pacquiao and Mayweather has become an obstacle to making other bouts.
Asked if it's imperative that Mayweather and Pacquiao fight, Hershman said: "I'm over it. I don't think it's imperative. I don't think the sport needs saving or anything like that. That's all hyperbole."
Hershman, who previously ran Showtime boxing before replacing Ross Greenburg at the helm of HBO Sports earlier this month, expressed his admiration for Mayweather and Pacquiao but said neither needs the other to enhance his legacy. Still, Hershman cautioned: "I do believe there is a 'sell-by date' by which time this would become not what it should be, which is the biggest boxing event in history."
Hershman expressed hope that Mayweather and Pacquiao will meet by the end of this year or early in 2013. "After that," he said, "it's going to get less and less relevant."
While Greenburg attempted to take an active role behind the scenes early last year to bring the fight about, Hershman said: "A better strategy for us is just to stay out of it. If they came to us, we'd be willing to help in any way, but I don't envision that happening."