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HBO Hopes Pacquiao-Marquez Will Keep Buy Streak Alive

10/24/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

With two marquee pay-per-view fights
under its belt, HBO will now turn its focus to the Nov. 12
Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez event.

The network launched its signature Pacquiao-Marquez
24/7
documentary series Saturday night on both the pay
TV service and on Time Warner Inc. sibling CNN. HBO
will premiere three of the four episodes of the
Sports Emmy Award-winning series on consecutive
Saturdays in primetime before CNN replays
each show the same night at midnight, according
to network officials.

The fourth episode of the series will air Nov. 11
at 10 p.m. on HBO at midnight on CNN, less than
24 hours before the event.

CNN also ran repeat episodes for HBO’s 24/7
series supporting the Sept. 27 Floyd Mayweather-
Victor Ortiz pay-per-view matchup.

The fight will be the third in as many months
for HBO, following the Mayweather-Ortiz welterweight
fight and the Oct. 15 Bernard Hopkins-
Chad Dawson light-heavyweight championship
bout.

HBO has yet to reveal specific PPV buys for either
fight, but industry sources estimate that Mayweather-
Ortiz drew more than 1 million buys.

Both fights ended in controversy: Mayweather knocked
out Ortiz after Ortiz dropped his hands to apologize to
Mayweather for an illegal headbutt, and Dawson was
awarded a win against Hopkins despite throwing Hopkins
to the ground after a clinch.

The referee counted Hopkins out after he was unable to
get up due to a shoulder injury caused by the fall.

HBO officials would not say how many buys the network
expects for Pacquiao-Marquez, but the Filipino
boxer, arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the
sport, has generated more than 1 million buys in his
last two bouts — a November 2010 fight against Antonio
Margarito and a May 2011 bout against Shane
Mosley.

The push for Pacquiao-Marquez (their third
meeting) comes on the heels of the network’s appointment
of former Showtime sports executive
Ken Hershman as its new president of HBO Sports.
Top Rank president Todd DuBoef told Multichannel
News that the network’s hiring of Hershman
— who led Showtime’s resurgence into the PPV
boxing category earlier this year with the distribution
of the Pacquiao-Mosley fight — bodes well for
HBO’s continued support of the sport.

“From my perspective, it validates to everybody
the importance of the brand of boxing as it
relates to Time Warner and HBO,” he said. “Having
somebody come in as head of sports who has
a pedigree in boxing sends a strong message to
everybody that [boxing] is the bread and butter of
their sports division.”

November

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