Pacquiao vs Horn: Still no U.S. network announced? What's going on?Written by Mark Weber
With less than three weeks away from the Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn WBO Welterweight championship fight, we still do not know which network will broadcast the fight in the U.S.
For almost the entirety of his career, the name Manny Pacquiao had been synonymous with HBO Boxing. But after a falling out last year, Pacquiao voided his contract with the network and instead fought Jesse Vargas on Top Rank’s online platform, Top Rank TV.
Top Rank had refused to broadcast Pacquiao vs Vargas on HBO PPV, instead focusing on Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev which took place a few weeks after. The move angered Bob Arum who had threatened to not only take Pacquiao away from HBO, but the rest of Top Rank’s stable as well which including Vasyl Lomachenko, Terence Crawford, and Tim Bradley.
But since then, relations between Top Rank and HBO have seemingly improved a bit, Top Rank has aired several events on the network and has a few more scheduled; However, it appears the friendly relationship between Pacquiao and HBO is over.
It’s very odd that nothing has been announced yet. Even if fans aren’t particularly excited about the Pacquiao vs Horn match-up, it is still a world championship fight for a major title, and Pacquiao is still an elite fighter and boxing legend.
A few months ago, Arum pitched the idea of broadcasting Pacquiao vs Horn on free TV.
“I’m not dealing with an ordinary fighter here who has to squeeze every buck out,” Arum told RingTV.com.
“One thing I’m looking forward to — the possibility of putting the fight on free television in the United States. We’re looking at a future president of the Philippines and if he fights outside the United States and people in the United States and around the world can watch his fight without paying any additional money — I think it’s a plus. It puts him on a really different level.”
“If we make that arrangement, then we go to HBO and give them the first opportunity to show the fight without an additional charge to their subscribers,” he said. “Or we go to one of the networks (such as CBS, NBC) or ESPN.”
One thing that is certain, HBO does not announce fights on short notice, specifically major ones. If they had a problem paying for Jesse Vargas vs Pacquiao last year, chances are they weren’t too enthralled with Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn.
... So it’s likely that HBO has shot - or will shoot - this fight down.
So, who will broadcast the mighty PacMan's next fight?
Pacquiao vs Horn News
Date: July 2, 2017
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Champion: Manny Pacquiao
CBS/Showtime and NBC both have deals with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions but the latter's deal might be done considering they haven't announced a PBC this year. Also, CBS/Showtime is closely aligned with PBC and is likely to work with them long-term.
FOX (although not mentioned by Arum) also has a deal with the PBC. In fact. PBC has an event planned on FOX in July featuring Robert Guerrero and Omar Figueroa.
In all, NBC, CBS, and FOX don't seem to be viable options.
One particularly interesting network to keep an eye on (if any will be announced) is Spike TV, who ended its relationship with PBC last year.
Spike TV, home to Bellator MMA and kickboxing, seemed very eager to add boxing to the mix but the PBC went a different direction. If they could land a star like Pacquiao, they'd draw big ratings. And given the network is currently in the process of rebranding to Paramount TV next year, Pacquiao vs Horn is exactly the type of event they might be looking for as they want to be on the forefront of combat sports after nearly a decade of success with MMA.
This weekend, Bellator 180 will be a PPV event headlined by MMA legends Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. The card also features Fedor Emelianenko (considered to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time) fighting Matt Mittrione. Although it’s a PPV, there is a live Spike TV broadcast featuring the Bellator Light Heavyweight championship between Ryan Bader and Phil Davis.
Pacquiao vs Horn on Spike TV? It would seem to be a great time to announce a deal, eh?