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HBO lowballs Diaz-Malignaggi rematch

Despite earlier reports that HBO was "very interested" in a rematch of the controversial August fight between Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi, Dan Rafael reported in a recent blog entry that the network essentially lowballed everyone with their offer:

There's been a lot of talk about a rematch between Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi after the hometown decision Diaz got in Houston when they met Aug. 22. HBO, which did the fight, was interested enough in the rematch of the excellent fight that the network met with Malignaggi and promoter Lou DiBella a few weeks ago and told them to their face it wanted to do it again. But there's a difference between genuinely wanting to do a rematch and lip service. How else to explain HBO's offer this week of only $750,000 for a Dec. 12 card? That's the same amount HBO paid last time even though the rematch is much bigger after all the publicity the first fight received. And instead of a co-promotion between Golden Boy and DiBella, it would be solely a Golden Boy-promoted card as part of its output deal with the network or a makeup call to Golden Boy for handling potential Mosley and Hopkins dates like hand grenades. Under the terms offered, don't count on a rematch.

I'm kind of glad they probably won't be able to book a December 12 date, as that is, honestly, blatant counter-programming from HBO. Showtime moved their Bradley-Peterson triple-header from December 5 to December 12 to completely avoid the much bigger Pavlik-Williams fight on HBO on 12/5, and also, as a fan, I'm interested in seeing Bradley-Peterson AND Diaz-Malignaggi II, so I'd hate to have them on the same night, on different networks. Think of the children, HBO!

HBO offering $750,000 for a rematch of a fight that reportedly far outperformed ratings expectations AND generated a TON of buzz post-fight might not be a total lowball, maybe just a starting offer. No doubt HBO is close to tapped for the rest of 2009 on their boxing budget.

Another overall money problem this fight might have in getting made is a live gate. Diaz can draw in Houston, but we all know Malignaggi isn't fighting him in Texas again. Malignaggi can do a decent crowd in NYC or Jersey, probably, but Diaz's management says they won't fight Paulie up there. What's that leave? Vegas isn't drawing anything for live crowds except the absolute biggest fights; Mayweather-Marquez didn't sell out, and Diaz-Malignaggi II is a lot closer to Dawson-Tarver and its less than 3,000 tickets sold over two fights than it is Mayweather-Marquez.

It might need to be paired with a fight that can bring in fans in California or some other neutral ground, and maybe hope that Diaz can pull the local Hispanic audience in.

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