Manny Pacquiao Having Trouble Landing A Home For His Pay-Per-View Fight Vs. Jessie Vargas. When Manny Pacquiao agreed to a Nov. 5 fight with Jessie Vargas, he and promoter Bob Arum knew they were entering into a busy portion of the 2016 calendar. After all, the last four months of the year already will feature pay-per-view events with Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith in September and Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev in November.
Now, Arum and his company, Top Rank, are searching for a PPV distributor, and it might not be an easy deal to make.
Since HBO has poured so much time and effort in setting up the Ward-Kovalev mega-fight on Nov. 19, the network won’t give Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 knockouts) that Nov. 5 date for fear of saturating the PPV market. The eight-division champion has spent most of his prime career fighting on HBO, but Arum will have to scramble to find somebody else to distribute the fight.
“It’s going to be distributed on Dish (Network), Direct TV, etc., etc., and now we’re working on a distribution partner to fill the role of HBO,” Arum told RingTV.com. “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.”
Though Pacquiao is in the middle of a multi-fight contract with HBO, Arum said the network has voided the contract by passing on this one, meaning HBO wouldn’t necessarily get a possible Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather rematch.
Arum’s declaration of a voided contract isn’t necessarily the last word on the matter, though. HBO declined comment to Forbes, but it remains unclear what the contract actually says. There could, for example, be a release that would allow Pacquiao to fight for another network (or for HBO to pass on a Pacquiao fight it doesn’t want) but still be tied to HBO through the end of the deal. From HBO’s standpoint, this situation is still fluid.
It’s also possible a Pacquiao-Vargas fight still could end up on HBO. If the fight had to be postponed until December, for instance, HBO would be interested in discussing a date to host the bout. But Nov. 5 is a no-go for the network, because of Ward-Kovalev and because it also would be tough to promote the fight with the presidential election, which would occur three days after the fight, eating up so much of the nation’s attention.
So, without HBO, where do Arum, Top Rank and Pacquiao turn? Arum said Showtime, ESPN and Turner are a possibility. Of those three, Showtime would make the most sense. Pacquiao already left HBO once to fight Shane Mosely on Showtime in 2011, and though that fight garnered 1.3 million PPV buys – the 12th-most successful boxing PPV of all time – Pacquiao soon after returned to HBO. Meanwhile, ESPN has only put on one major PPV (the Antonio Margarito-Kermit Cintron fight in 2010), and it hasn’t returned to that stage again.