By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Bob Arum said that his promotional company, Top Rank Inc., has struck a deal with HBO Sports for the company to televise the pay-per-view rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
Cotto-Margarito II is scheduled for Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York. But Top Rank’s executives also negotiated with Showtime Sports, which broadcast the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley welterweight title fight May 7 from Las Vegas.
When Top Rank took the Pacquiao-Mosley fight to Showtime, it forced Showtime’s premium cable competitors at HBO to reassess how that network markets and promotes its pay-per-view fights. HBO executives have since committed many of the vast resources of its parent company, Time Warner, to promoting the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz pay-per-view fight Sept. 17 in Las Vegas.
HBO’s firmer commitment to reaching a broader audience also prompted Arum to bring Pacquiao back to HBO for his Nov. 12 pay-per-view fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. Those print and television entities include People magazine and CNN, not traditional outlets to promote even the biggest boxing matches.
Arum also said HBO would televise a shorter 24/7 preview series for the Cotto-Margarito grudge rematch.
“[The promotion is] not going to be as extensive because we don’t have enough time between Nov. 12 and Dec. 3,” Arum said. “So there may be two or three 24/7s [instead of the standard four].”
There’s plenty of Cotto-Margarito drama for HBO to examine on 24/7.
Mexico’s Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs, 1 NC) beat Puerto Rico’s Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) by 11th-round TKO in their first fight, a brutal, bloody battle three years ago in Las Vegas. But Margarito’s victory has come under question since Margarito was caught trying to use illegal hand wraps prior to his next fight against Shane Mosley.
Cotto out-pointed Mosley in November 2007 at Madison Square Garden, but Mosley dominated Margarito before beating him by ninth-round TKO in their welterweight title fight in January 2009 in Los Angeles.
There isn’t evidence that suggests Margarito broke any rules the night he conquered Cotto, but Cotto and others grew suspicious following the Mosley controversy.
Margarito won the WBA welterweight title from Cotto in July 2008. They’ll fight for Cotto’s WBA super welterweight title Dec. 3, but at a catchweight of 153 pounds, one pound below the limit for super welterweight/junior middleweight fights.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.