The Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley tilt last month on Showtime drew 1.3 million pay-per-view buys. Any bout that can draw that many paying customers these days deserves a salute. But hence the operative word in the lead sentence, Showtime.
Showtime, considered HBO’s little brother when it comes to boxing, was the broadcaster of the Pacquiao-Mosley fight. Many have overlooked that and have put most of their focus on whether Pacquiao’s next bout will do as well. No one was happy as Mosley practically threw in the towel after getting knocked down in the second round.
That notwithstanding, there’s no doubt Pacquiao’s next fight will draw over a million buys because he has become a household name. The real question is which network will get the honor of broadcasting Pacquiao’s next bout? It’s an important question that won’t get much play over the next couple of months, but it should.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported Thursday that Showtime has the right of first refusal for Pacquiao’s November 12th tilt with Juan Manuel Marquez. That means if the offer is right Pacquiao will be facing Marquez, for the third time, on Showtime.
Why is this significant? It’s significant because this could set up a huge bidding war between Showtime and HBO (and ESPN?...just kidding) for a potential super-bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Yes, we wrote it, a super-bout between Pacquiao and Mayweather that is likely to happen next May. This time we believe it will happen. Mayweather deciding to fight WBC welterweight Victor Ortiz (a southpaw, like Pacquiao) is the very reason we think the most anticipated fight in maybe 15 years will take place.
Even Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach believes it. Roach told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he believes Mayweather agreed to fight Ortiz because it would help get him ready for a fight against Pacquiao
Now back to the Showtime-HBO business. Showtime has made it clear it’s back in the pay-per-view game, especially if it broadcasts the Pacquiao-Marquez fight. With CBS likely to be involved in the prefight-promotions, Showtime should be more than equipped to go toe-to-toe in the center of the ring (pun intended) with HBO.
Can you say Hatfield vs. McCoy?