Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com spoke with Top Rank's Bob Arum and got some more details on the promotional package that helped HBO beat out Showtime to land Manny Pacquiao's next fight on November 12, against Juan Manuel Marquez.
HBO has gotten parent company Time Warner involved fully, which will lead to (among other things):
- Promotion on TBS, which could mean that Pacquiao will be on Conan and/or Lopez Tonight. They talked up his not appearing on Letterman and still preferring Jimmy Kimmel last time out, but there's really no reason he can't do those shows and Kimmel, since it's nothing to do with network TV.
- Promotion on TNT, which will include Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller. Boy, I can't wait for Miller's awkward forcing of personality. (I grew up a huge Reggie Miller and Pacers fan, but he is far from a natural commentator.)
- Promotion on CNN, including Arum and Pacquiao on Piers Morgan's show.
- Repeats of HBO's "24/7" on CNN, which is a pretty big deal, but still seems weird to me for now.
I'm pretty excited to see how this all plays out. Better, larger-scale promotion for boxing can only be a good thing. Even in the new era of mega-fights, with bigger promotion, the promotion has been mostly insular, stuck inside of the already-established boxing fanbase. Showtime and CBS made some steps in May with Pacquiao vs Mosley content on CBS, and now HBO and Time Warner are coming in to up the game even more. The more people you reach out to, the more people you will ultimately interest in today's fighters, their stories, their fights, and maybe, just maybe, the sport of boxing.
An Aside: I've started to realize that I'm sort of treating Juan Manuel Marquez like an afterthought and nothing more than another opponent. As much as I like Marquez as a fighter and respect his accomplishments, the truth is that that is coming naturally right now. Marquez is the opponent, and none of what is happening right now much owes to Marquez. So for the Marquez fans who think he's being ignored, well, you're kind of right, but that's the reality right now. What's causin' all this is Manny Pacquiao, and anyone could have fought him on November 12, and the network push to get his fight would have been exactly the same. It's not meant as disrespect to Marquez, but he's definitely the opponent, great a fighter as he is. It's up to him to make the memory -- the hindsight, which is what really matters when all is said and done -- something more than that.