Will the Pacquiao – Marquez Trilogy turn it around for HBO?
By John F. McKenna (McJack): When World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KO’s) steps into the ring on November 12 to face WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KO’s) nearly everyone is anticipating a pretty good fight.
The venue for the Pacquiao – Marquez Trilogy will be the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the 1st two fights both Pacquiao and Marquez put forth scintillating performances, and that is why a 3rd fight is in order.
At this point a great fight would be just what the doctor ordered for cable giant HBO. The last several fights aired by HBO fell far short of living up to the media hype. Going back to the Manny Pacquiao – Shane Mosley fight in May, which was a HBO Pay Per View (PPV) event, Shane fell into survival mode after being stung by Pacquiao’s explosive speed and power in the 3rd round. That was followed by WBA heavyweight champion David Haye’s less than stellar performance against heavyweight champ Vladimir Klitschko in July. That fight although not PPV was aired by HBO.
On September 17 the heavily promoted HBO, PPV fight between then WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO’s) and new WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KO’s) also fell apart when “Vicious” head butted Mayweather in the 4th round and was subsequently knocked out as he stood with his hands at his sides after being penalized.
The October 15 HBO, PPV fight between WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2-1, 32 KO’s) and challenger Chad Dawson (30-1-0-1, 17 KO’s) was another flop for HBO. Hopkins wound up landing on Dawson’s back after missing with a right hand. Dawson forcibly pushed Hopkins to the mat in an effort to get him off his back. Hopkins was injured in his fall to the canvas resulting in the referee awarding the fight to Dawson via TKO victory. The WBC later reversed the referee and ruled the fight a “technical draw”. It was another controversial fight in a year of controversial fights for HBO.
Things did not get any better on Saturday night when highly touted bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KO’s) faced super flyweight champion Omar Narvaez (35-1-2, 19 KO’s) in a fight aired on HBO. Donaire won all twelve rounds in a fight that was booed by those in attendance.
HBO top execs are hoping that the Trilogy fight between Pacquiao and Marquez is the fight that lifts HBO out of it’s year of discontent. Both Pacquiao and Marquez are combat warriors who are used to trench warfare. The PPV numbers for Pacquiao – Mosley were approximately 1.4 – 1.5 million. Concrete PPV numbers are not yet available for the Mayweather – Ortiz fight. Everyone will be looking to see what the numbers will be for the Pacquiao – Marquez trilogy.
It is a certainty that new HBO Sport President Ken Hershman will closely scrutinize all future HBO boxing matches when he takes over in January before he gives his approval.