HBO to Re-Air End of a Sports Era

If you didn’t catch the probable end of the career of one of the most bankable athletes of all time Saturday night on pay per view, you will have another chance on December 13 without coughing up anything on top of your HBO monthly charge.

On Saturday night HBO is re-airing Manny Pacquiao’s utter destruction of boxing (and pay per view) legend Oscar De La Hoya that took place December 6 in Las Vegas and on HBO PPV.

HBO will carry the replay following a live airing of heavyweight champion (well, one of them) Wladimir Klitschko taking on Hasim Rahman from Germany. The show will begin at 4:45 pm ET and HBO will re-air it that night at 10 pm ET.

De La Hoya’s loss probably (and hopefully) brings to an end a career that has created several of the biggest PPV events in boxing. A fight dubbed “The Dream Match” was a nightmare from the start both for De La Hoya and any promoter who was hoping to squeeze a few more paydays out of the twilight of De La Hoya’s fantastic career.

A fighter who was able to attract fans (translation: PPV buyers) from multiple demographics, De La Hoya showed he no longer can compete at the elite level, as he was outclassed from start to finish by a fighter considered by many to be the best at any weight class.

Pacquiao’s brilliant victory now sets up for next year what should be a thrilling fight with Ricky Hatton, an exciting brawler from the United Kingdom.

And HBO needs to make sure that fight is carried live on its cable network, not on pay per view, as it stacks up to be an advertisement that boxing as a sport has plenty of punch left.

Both fighters tend to fire punches at will, as opposed to the plodding pace of a heavyweight fight, for instance. Plus, with neither being a household name in the United States, a PPV strategy would not make much sense, especially given the economy.

In fact, while final numbers are not in yet, the PPV figures even for the highly-anticipated De La Hoya-Pacquiao are expected to be modest given the state of the economy and the $54.95 (standard definition) price tag, though there were sponsor discounts that could have lowered that ticket for the determined customer.