Manny Pacquiao's return to the ring on November 5th will not be aired on HBO, the home of many of Pacquiao's biggest fights throughout his storied career.
The news comes as a surprise to the boxing world. While his opponent, WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, is not a name that is able to draw large amounts of pay-per-view buys, Pacquiao is still one of the biggest names in the sport. The news could also mean that HBO would be relinquishing any future fight broadcasts that Pacquiao may do after his fight with Vargas.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum expressed major disappointment to the L.A. Times about the news.
"In my opinion, they have an obligation to distribute this fight," Arum said. "The fact that they passed means the contract is over, it seems clear to me. They can’t pick and choose which fights they are going to distribute. They’re either in breach of contract or they’ve ended the contract. My feeling is, based my legal background, is that the contract is terminated."
Arum also spoke to Ring TV on other alternatives to air the fight. Showtime, which had the rights to air Floyd Mayweather's last six fights before he retired in 2015, could also be a possibility to air the fight. ESPN, while they do not broadcast pay-per-view events, could also figure into the conversation.
"I haven’t spoken to them [Showtime]," Arum said. "But there would be no impediment to that. When I get back next week, [Showtime Sports Executive VP] Stephen [Espinoza] will be one of the guys I’m calling."
Pacquiao will face off against Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. HBO has yet to publicly comment on the news.
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