Michael Marley of the Examiner reports that an announcement could come on Wednesday or Thursday, in which Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will officially state that HBO has won the bidding war to carry the November 12 pay-per-view fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
It's also worth noting that Arum has previously stated that the network that won the rights to Pacquiao vs Marquez III would also be getting the Cotto vs Margarito rematch pay-per-view on December 3. Cotto's March fight with Ricardo Mayorga was also aired by Showtime PPV after years of the Puerto Rican star being an HBO fighter.
HBO winning the war is no surprise. Recently, Ross Greenburg was let go as HBO Sports President, and despite his own denials, it's no secret that letting Manny Pacquiao slip away to Showtime for his May 7 bout with Shane Mosley was the straw that broke the camel's back in that situation. HBO's initial offer for Pacquiao vs Marquez III was described by Arum as "truly a blockbuster, well thought out." Word is they'll be incorporating a lot of the other Time Warner media, including TV and magazines, as part of the promotion, which lessens some of the impact of Showtime's affiliation with parent network CBS.
As for how this impacts the U.S. boxing landscape, it probably won't make any noticeable dent to the average boxing fan. Showtime made a great decision to "steal" Pacquiao away from HBO earlier this year, and overall they delivered with their production, promotion, and PPV figures. But HBO's sports department simply has more money than they do, and until that changes, or until HBO gets so lazy as to think it's automatic that every major fight is coming their way (again), Showtime will likely remain a clear No. 2. Pacquiao vs Mosley may have simply awakened the sleeping giant, but Showtime still has a lot to offer boxing fans, and the head of their boxing world, Ken Hershman, is still a creative, risk-taking guy who makes things happen. Don't count Showtime out for future major fights, is all I'm saying, but HBO is definitely coming back hard after a rough first half of 2011.