Manny Pacquiao no longer on HBO? What does this mean?
After weeks of speculation, Manny Pacquiao has officially announced he's fighting Jessie Vargas on November 5th in Las Vegas.
While the fight itself isn't that interesting, especially considering pound-for-pound great Terence Crawford was left out in the cold, it could actually create a massive shift in the landscape of the sport.
Given HBO has refused Pacquiao vs Vargas, Manny, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, can terminate his contract with the network thereby making him a free agent (in terms of his network rights).
So what does the HBO-Pacquiao divorce mean?
1: Out with the old
Since HBO is already showcasing a PPV on October 19th between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, it's obvious they do not want to jeopardize sales of Ward vs Kovalev for Pacquiao vs Vargas a few weeks later.
Perhaps HBO believes giving Ward vs Kovalev a full spotlight would be better for the overall health of the network. After all, both WARD and Kovalev are undefeated, pound-for-pound guys seemingly in their primes while Vargas is still an unknown quantity and Pacquiao is presumably on the downside of his career.
2: Pacquiao vs Mayweather 2
The ultimate 'duh' here is that Pacquiao vs Mayweather 2 becomes much easier to make. Floyd Mayweather is currently a free agent himself but is is very close with Showtime/CBS, coming off of a massive 6-fight deal. Should the fight greats meet again, the rematch would be exclusively Showtime's and would thereby eliminate all of the network-related negotiation issues. With no HBO/Showtime hurdle, Floyd vs Manny becomes much, much easier to make.
#3: Manny vs PBC fighters on Showtime or free TV?
Again, Manny being free from HBO may open the door to many big fights. HBO is notoriously anti-Al Haymon. They practically banned Haymon-linked fighters from appearing on their network the last 3 years.
With no more ties to HBO, Manny could fight the PBC's best including Danny Garcia, Keiith Thurman, and Adrien Broner. Bob Arum and Al Haymon have seemingly burried the hatchet and with Top Rank's biggest star no longer obligated to HBO, it could open the floodgates to some high profile bouts for PacMan.
Will Pacquiao's split from HBO ultimately create more superfight opportunities for Manny - Or will Pacquiao be relegated to fighting for a sliver of the purses he's accustomed to?