The Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao megafight that has been in the works for five years took another step closer to becoming a long-awaited reality on Wednesday when, according to one report, the two rival TV networks that would need to cooperate to broadcast the fight began their own negotiations.
Despite Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum saying on Tuesday that his fighter had agreed to all terms proposed by the Mayweather camp and was ready to fight, on Wednesday Pacquiao’s publicist, Fred Sternburg, told BBC News that a final agreement is still some ways off.
“There is still a long way to go. At least the movement has been in a positive direction,” Sternburg said.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, the fight is so close to a final deal that would make the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather mega-event happen in 2015, that HBO and Showtime — normally bitter rivals for premium cable subscribers — have started to talk to each other about how to jointly broadcast the fight, which is expected to be easily the biggest moneymaker in boxing history.
Because the largest share of revenue from the fight, as with all big fights, will come from pay per view buys, an agreement between the two networks is just as important as an agreement between the fighters.
HBO is owned by the Time Warner corporation. Showtime’s parent company is Viacom, which also owns the CBS television network and numerous basic cable channels as well.
Pacquiao is under exclusive contract to fight only on HBO broadcasts. Mayweather is in the middle of a six-fight deal that binds him to Showtime. That means the two bitter rival networks must reach an agreement to manage the pay per view broadcast and split both the costs and the revenues that it generates.
“The television part of the deal is not necessarily a slam dunk,” cautioned Los Angeles Times boxing writer Lance Pugmire. “There’s a fierce rivalry there too, with production controls, promotional shows and budgets to sort out.”
HBO and Showtime have collaborated just one time before, and that was 13 years ago when then-heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, an HBO fighter, defended his belt against former champ Mike Tyson, who at the time was on a Showtime exclusive deal.
As the Inquisitr reported earlier this week, Pacquiao and Mayweather have picked the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as the venue for the proposed fight.
On Wednesday, ESPN.com boxing reporter Dan Rafael reported that the sides had agreed on May 2 as the date for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao “fight of the century,” and that Arum, despite his earlier objections, would schedule a planned Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Alvarez bout for a later date.