By Allan Fox: HBO reportedly passed on the idea of televising the November 5 fight between Manny Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion, according to their promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. Arum thinks HBO chose not to televise the Pacquiao-Vargas fight because it would have taken place two weeks in front of the November 19 fight on HBO pay-per-view between Andre Ward and IBF/WBA/WBC light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The idea is that the PPV sales for the Ward-Kovalev fight might have been affected by another PPV fight earlier in November between Pacquiao and Vargas. Arum is vacating in Aspen right now, but when his vacation is over, he plans on talking to Showtime about them possibly televising the Pacquiao-Vargas fight, according to RingTV.
“When I get back next week, Stephen will be one of the guys I’m calling,” said Arum to RingTV.com.
If Arum can’t put together a deal to have the 37-year-old Pacquiao’s fight against Vargas shown on Showtime, then he’ll look to have ESPN or Turner.
It’s interesting that HBO chose not to televise Pacquiao’s fight against the 27-year-old Vargas. The immediate thing that you have to think when you see something like this is perhaps HBO didn’t see the Pacquiao-Vargas fight as being one that will sell to their subscribers. On paper, it’s not a fight that you would figure that a ton of boxing fans will want to purchase.
Vargas is kind of an unknown to the casual fans, and the hardcore fans that know him remember how easily Tim Bradley beat him last year. It might have been better off for Arum to have reached out to another promoter in selecting Pacquiao’s next opponent for November 5. At least if Arum had done that, he might have been able to get a popular fighter with talent. WBA champion Keith Thurman was reportedly interested in facing Pacquiao.
Danny Garcia would have been a good option for Pacquiao if he was given a nice payday for the fight. You’re not going to get Danny Garcia for nothing, but it would have been a sellable fight to the casual boxing fans. By Arum choosing to go the in house route in matching Pacquiao against one of his Top Rank stable fighters, he pretty much has doomed the fight to low PPV numbers in my view. Arum has some good fighters in his stable in Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez, but those aren’t big stars.
You can’t match Valdez and Lomachenko against Pacquiao because they’re too small. Crawford isn’t a PPV fighter, so he would have been a bad choice as well. Arum should have gone with someone outside of his stable for Pacquiao.
“Definitely it’s not going to be HBO. HBO had a contract and decided to pass because it was two weeks in front of their Ward-Kovalev fight,” said Arum about the Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight.
If Pacquiao is just going to be fighting guys like Vargas, then Arum needs to look elsewhere to find better opponents for him to fight. Vargas is a decent fighter, but this really isn’t a PPV worthy fight. It’s more like the type of fight that you’d see on regular HBO or Showtime. It’s not a fight that you would think should be televised on PPV. I think this fight will bring in worse PPV numbers than Pacquiao’s last bout against Tim Bradley last April.
What’s not known is whether HBO’s contract with Pacquiao is still effective given them passing on his fight against Vargas. If it is, then HBO could potentially miss out on a rematch between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017 if Mayeather decides to come back for a second fight with the Filipino star. Despite their fight last year being a dull and disappointing one to watch, a rematch between the two stars might still bring in over two million PPV buys.
If HBO isn’t able to take part in televising the Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch, they would miss out on a lot of money. That would be a real negative for HBO if they didn’t get to show the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao rematch and it was Showtime that ended up televising the fight.