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HBO Fills Fall Fight Card

7/19/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

HBO Sports will jump-start the second
half of its 2010 pay-per-view boxing schedule with a
July 31 Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz event, but it’s
also betting on several late fall blockbuster fights to
drive additional PPV revenue for distributors.

HBO is discussing several potential fights within the
junior welterweight and junior middleweight division
including such PPV draws as Floyd Mayweather, Manny
Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, although no bouts have
yet to be signed. Still, the network is hopeful that potential
late-year bouts could help the industry meet or supersede
last year’s PPV performance, according to HBO
Sports senior vice president Mark Taffet.

Taffet said he hopes to offer at least two big PPV
events during the second half of the year. Certainly, the
most lucrative event for the category would be a muchanticipated
Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, although Taffet
said he would not comment on the status of the negotiations
between the two fighters.

At press time, it was unclear whether the two
fighters had reached a deal for a potential Nov.
13 bout before a July 16 deadline imposed by Pacquiao’s
camp.

A March 2010 matchup between the two fighters fell
apart after the pair could not come to agreement over
pre-fight testing for steroids.

Both fighters fought in separate PPV bouts during
the first half of 2010. Pacquiao drew more than
700,000 PPV buys for his March 13 fight against
Joshua Clottey, while Mayweather garnered 1.4 million
buys for his May 1 bout against boxing veteran
Shane Mosley. It’s unclear how many buys the April
3 Roy Jones-Bernard Hopkins fight generated, although
industry estimations place it in the 200,000
to 250,000 buy range.

Overall, Taffet said the network generated approximately
2.3 million buys, which is off from the 3.2 million
buys the company generated in 2009.

With a mid-sized PPV fight in Marquez-Diaz and a
potential Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-fight or separate
fights featuring the two champions against such
possible opponents as Cotto, Mosley and Antonio Margarito,
Taffet believes 2010 could still surpass 2009’s
performance.

“We’re earmarking November and December for
PPV mega-fights featuring the sport’s biggest stars,”
he said. “There are great matches in the 147- and 154-
pound weight classes and even greater revenue opportunities.
We expect to realize two or three of those in
the fall.”

September