News

Next Round: Pacquiao-Clottey Will Be First PPV Bout of Year

1/23/2010 2:00 AM Eastern

The cable industry will get its first big pay-per-view boxing event of the year on March 13 — but it won't be the fight operators were hoping for.

Recognized pound-for-pound boxing champion Manny Pacquiao will fight former welterweight champion Joshua Clottey at the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Negotiations for a blockbuster March 13 Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout broke down earlier this month.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum told Multichannel News last week during a press conference promoting Pacquiao-Clottey that he expects the inaugural pay-per-view boxing event of 2010 will generate more than 1 million buys.

If the fight were to reach that lofty plateau, it would mark a record third straight PPV boxing event to break the 1 million buy mark, following the Sept. 19 Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight (1.05 million PPV buys) and the Nov. 14 Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto bout (1.20 million).

Pacquiao-Clottey cannot match up to the potential performance of the highly anticipated Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. The two fighters had been expected to fight on March 13 in what was projected to be the biggest PPV event of all time, but the event was derailed after Pacquiao refused a demand by the Mayweather camp to submit to random drug testing of the fighters leading up to and after the fight. Pacquiao subsequently sued the Mayweather camp and the fighter's promoters, Golden Boy Productions, alleging that they made false and defamatory statements that Pacquiao has taken performance-enhancing drugs.

HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said he believes the Mayweather-Pacquiao controversy could drive PPV buys for Pacquiao-Clottey.

“I think probably, in a weird way, all of this attention over the last month will help both fighters,” he said. “Other than Tiger Woods, no one else has knocked them out in terms of press coverage.”

The network will look to target Hispanic viewers and mainstream sports fans with its marketing campaign for Pacquiao-Clottey, which will include originally produced content focused on the Latino fighter-heavy undercard and aggressive Internet-based promotion for traditional sports fans, said Tammy Ross, HBO Sports vice president and general manager.

Greenburg said the Pacquiao-Clottey fight will be the first of as many as four PPV boxing events HBO will distribute in 2010. The pay TV network distributed three PPV boxing events in 2009.

The second PPV event could be a May 1 match-up between Mayweather and former welterweight champion Shane Mosley. Mosley was scheduled to fight Andre Berto on HBO Jan. 30, but the Haitian-American Berto, who lost eight family members in the recent Haiti earthquake, withdrew from the fight Monday.

Greenburg is also optimistic a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight could still happen in 2010.

“I would argue that we had the perfect balance of big HBO fights and PPV events in 2009 — that's what I'd like to see in 2010,” he said. “Manny's fight will spark interest, certainly a potential Mayweather-Mosely fight will spark interest, and hopefully, God willing, a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight will blow the doors off.”

KNOCKOUTS

Manny Pacquiao has been one of PPV boxing's biggest draws since 2008.

Fight Date PPV Buys
SOURCE: HBO and Multichannel News research
Pacquiao-De La Hoya 12/6/2008 1.25 million
Pacquiao-Hatton 5/2/2009 825,000
Pacquiao-Cotto 11/14/2009 1.20 million


September