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Cable Has Full Fall PPV Fight Card

Three pay-per-view boxing events running in consecutive weeks next month will vie for consumer dollars during a very crowded cable fight card this fall.

Current welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather and former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield will headline pay-per-view events for HBO and Fox Sports Net, respectively, the first two weekends in November.

Mayweather will face co-welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir on Nov. 4 in an HBO PPV-distributed event that will retail for $44.95, while Holyfield will continue his quest to for a fifth heavyweight title Nov. 10 when he faces Fres Oquendo in Fox’s first foray into the PPV boxing ring this year. That fight will retail at a suggested price of $44.95.

A week later HBO PPV will return with the rubber match between junior lightweights Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales. The two fighters fought earlier this year and generated 350,000 PPV buys, according to HBO.

The PPV boxing category has been on an upswing this year, with a number of cards generating higher-than-expected performances. HBO alone has generated more than $131 million in PPV boxing revenues thus far and could surpass its all-time high of $200 million before year-end.

With three PPV events within four weeks of each other in November — four events in six weeks if the Oct. 20 Mike Tyson-Corey “T-Rex” Sanders $29.95 exhibition bout is counted — some industry observers believe there will be cannibalization.

“There’s a core of hard-core boxing fans that will pay for boxing events,” said boxing analyst and WFAN sports radio host Tony Paige. “But if put all these events around the same time, even those fans aren’t going to be able to get all of them.”

But HBO Sports senior vice president Mark Taffet isn’t concerned about the crowded marketplace.

“We’ve understood that the PPV business is like a multiplex theater for sometime now, and we’re very confident that the fights that are being distributed on HBO PPV have the support of the industry and the support of HBO in a way that will make those fights stand out in the consumer’s mind,” he said.

Fox Sports PPV consultant Rick Kulis said the company is confident that Holyfield’s popularity will draw buys for its card. He added Fox will take advantage of the various radio, television and Internet synergies within Fox Cable Networks to promote the event.

Along with the three PPV events, the sport will gain added exposure from several fight cards during the month and into early December on premium networks HBO and Showtime.

Showtime’s monthly Saturday night boxing series will feature a Sergei Liakhovich-Shannon Briggs world heavyweight championship bout Nov. 4.

Then on Dec. 2, the premium network will televise a card featuring popular welterweights Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito in separate title tilts.

The network has also scheduled a Nov. 17 edition of its Showbox live fight series which features young, not-ready-for-primetime boxers.

HBO World Championship Boxing will offer a Nov. 11 heavyweight fight between champion Wladimir Klitschko and Calvin Brock, as well as a Dec. 2 middleweight bout between former champions Winky Wright and Ike Quartey.

On Dec. 9, HBO is scheduled to televise the Jermain Taylor-Kassim Ouma middleweight championship fight, according to the network.

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.