HBO Sports won't force Floyd Mayweather to fight Manny Pacquiao. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
While we entered a new period of speculation over a possible Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather fight, new HBO Sports president Ken Hershman was far from willing to put all of HBO's eggs in the superfight basket. When discussing the fight recently, Hershman was very honest and direct about the fight having a sell-by date and the fact that the sport doesn't "need" the bout.
"I hope by the end of this year we see these guys in the ring together," Hershman said. "If not, maybe early next year. But after that, it's going to get less and less relevant."
... "I'm over it," said Hershman, who replaced Ross Greenburg after nearly two decades at Showtime. "I don't think it's imperative [that they fight]. I don't think it's going to be anything [where] the sport needs saving or anything like that. I think that's all hyperbole. I would love to see the fight, obviously, as a fan. I think that it does get in the way, at times like this, of fights being made and good business being done for everybody. Because you do wind up being stalled for weeks, months, while everything gets sorted out.
Hershman also said that they will not put any pressure on the fighters to make the bout happen or issue any ultimatums.
And that's really the problem. No one has any power to make these guys fight. We could see Mayweather rematch Victor Ortiz now that the Berto rematch is off and, despite no one really wanting to see it (other than myself for some strange reason), it'll still do a big number at the gate and more than respectable numbers on pay-per-view. Pacquiao could fight Timothy Bradley or Miguel Cotto and, despite already convincingly trouncing Cotto and no one knowing who Bradley is, everyone involved will walk away with a bunch of money.
HBO has no leverage because all an ultimatum does is provide an opening for either man to go to Showtime.
All the power is held by the men who are able to use it to not make the fight happen.