HBO Sports on Wednesday held a press conference for its April 25 Wladamir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings heavyweight championship boxing telecast, but the proposed May 2 Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao was on the minds of many boxing observers attending the conference at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Negotiations continue between the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps -- as well as between the fight's co-PPV distributors HBO and Showtime -- to make what is expected to be the most lucrative pay-per-view boxing match of all time. But the clock is ticking on the event.
In order to effectively market and promote the event, as well as to give the fighters adequate time to train, a deal for the fight needs to happen over the next week, according to sources close to the situation. Yet issues remain unresolved between the two parties.
HBO Sports president Ken Hershman told several reporters after the Klitschko-Jennings press conference that the network is ready and willing to make the fight, but would not reveal any specifics on the negotiations.
Just two days earlier, HBO released a statement saying that it is not impeding negotiations for the fight after published reports intimated that the pay service -- which has multi-fight agreement with Pacquiao -- has less incentive to make the Maywether-Pacquiao fight than Showtime, which has two fights left on its six fight, multi-million dollar TV deal with Mayweather.
“We stand ready to do the fight and if the [fighters] come to an agreement, that’s great for boxing," he said. "We stand ready to do it, and that’s what we hope happens."
As for Klitschko-Jennings, that fight will mark the first time the 38 year-old German-based Klitschko has fought in the United States since 2008. The World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion said he’s looking forward to “entertaining” the Madison Square Garden crowd when he meets the undefeated Jennings in April. “I know this will be a tough challenge," he added.
Maybe as tough as making Mayweather-Pacquiao happen.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
By Jens Koerner