Keith Idec reports that Top Rank is just about ready to make a decision on the network that will handle the November 12 pay-per-view event featuring Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez in the main event.
It still seems as though HBO is the frontrunner, as Bob Arum continues to talk up their offer while saying basically nothing about what Showtime and CBS have brought to the table, which probably can't be much better than what they did for Pacquiao vs Mosley. That was all a big success business-wise, but that was their cap for now on what they can do to promote an event. HBO, as Arum notes, has never really gone to their limit, and appear prepared to do just that:
"What happened was that the leaders of HBO, not the people in HBO Sports, the guys who really run HBO — Michael Lombardo (programming president) and Richard Plepler (co-president) — really got involved. They’re very, very bright and they’re first-class guys. The problem heretofore with HBO was that it was like the head of HBO Sports looked upon it as his fiefdom and didn’t want to go outside of the confines of HBO Sports, using the assets available to HBO Sports."
HBO's offer includes using further HBO assets, as well as Time Warner assets to promote the fight. The same promotion is going to be given to the September 17 Mayweather vs Ortiz event, and Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer has been head over heels about the push that fight is going to be given. I just don't know that Showtime/CBS can match what HBO is bringing right now, and it looks as though for the time being, the biggest impact of their nabbing the last Manny Pacquiao fight is going to be making HBO step up their own game.