HBO Promotes Boxing with Boxing

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In an effort to encourage pay-per-view buys, Home Box Office will offer a free one-hour live-boxing card one hour before its July 16 Bernard Hopkins-Jermain Taylor PPV event.

HBO PPV executives said the free preview -- running in the clear on most cable systems at 8 p.m. -- will include 2004 Olympic Games boxers Abner Mares and Vicente Escobedo in separate fights.

HBO typically airs preproduced fight-preview shows prior to its PPV telecasts.

HBO PPV vice president and general manager Tammy Ross hopes customers watching the free preview -- which will heavily tout the Hopkins-Taylor bout -- will be persuaded to buy the $49.95 fight after it.

To further encourage viewers, for only the second time in its history, HBO will offer the PPV event in HD. The network also offered its December 2004 Vitali Klitschko-Danny Williams fight in HD.

Ross said the enhanced feed would not add any additional costs to the fight’s suggested retail rate.

In terms of event promotion, HBO will run several fight ads during ESPN’s July Home Run Derby telecast. ESPN’s July 15 SportsCenter is also scheduled to have live coverage of the weigh-in of both fighters, and that network will telecast Friday Night Fights from Las Vegas.

For more on HBO’s Hopkins-Taylor PPV event, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 10 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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