Marquee Boxing, UFC in N.Y.C. Spice Up Fall’s Fight Card

After a relatively quiet year thus far on the pay-per-view boxing front, November is shaping up to be a knockout month for the category with two high-profile events scheduled over a three-week period.

The latest event to join the November PPV lineup is Top Rank’s scheduled Nov. 5 bout featuring top PPV draw Manny Pacquiao against welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.

The fight will take place two weeks before HBO’s Nov. 19 Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight championship fight card.

Further crowding November’s fight schedule is UFC’s high-profile Nov. 12 event from New York’s Madison Square Garden — the organization’s first event in the Big Apple since New York State legalized UFC events as part of a bill signed this past April.

One hiccup in the lineup is that HBO — which has distributed most of Pacquiao’s PPV fights throughout his career — has decided not to distribute Pacquiao-Vargas due to the fight’s proximity to its Ward-Kovalev fight, according to sources close to the network.

HBO officials would not comment on the matter.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told the Los Angeles Times last week that he is considering other potential companies, including Showtime, to distribute the Pacquiao PPV fight.

Showtime Sports officials told Multichannel News the network would consider talking to Top Rank about distributing the fight. Showtime and HBO teamed in May 2015 to distribute the Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather PPV event, which set an all-time PPV record with more than 4 million PPV buys for more than $400 million in revenue.

Top Rank president Todd duBoef told Multichannel News could also distribute the fight on its own to the industry as well as via online to consumers though its website. “I think there are a lot of options for us,” he said. “I think it has a great opportunity for us to explore different creative ways that have not necessarily been looked at in the past.”

Overall, Pacquiao has generated the second-highest level of PPV revenue within the boxing category, behind only Mayweather.

November’s two scheduled pay-per-view fights would add to a 2016 PPV boxing lineup that has already featured HBO’s April Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. bout, its May Canelo Alvarez-Amir Kahn bout and last month’s Terrance Crawford- Viktor Postol fight.

HBO also has a Sept. 17 Alvarez-Liam Smith PPV fight on the docket.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.