By Mitch Abramson
Kery Davis, senior vice president for programming at HBO, dished about Floyd Mayweather and the rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito on Tuesday to hype their Dec. 3 bout at Madison Square Garden. While Davis declined to discuss the controversy involving Mayweather’s bout with Victor Ortiz on Saturday, he did give his impression of Mayweather’s performance and a timetable for Money's possible return.
“The one thing that I was shocked at, from the very first minute of the very first round, was how sharp he was,” Davis said of Mayweather. “How on-point he was, how he was moving, his counter-punching, his vision, seeing everything, his reflexes. You couldn’t tell, at least through my eyes, that there had been a 16 month layoff. I saw a guy who looked as sharp as I’ve even seen him look.”
Davis looks forward to seeing Mayweather back in the ring, sooner than later.
“I hope that we don’t have to wait 16 months for the next one,” Davis said. “He made a big point about being his own boss and he’s going to fight on his own time, so let’s hope that his time is a time that is friendly for boxing fans, or conducive to boxing fans. I really believe that the sport of boxing needs its big stars, especially a guy like Floyd, who is in his prime.”
As for the Cotto-Margarito rematch, Davis believes that Margarito has moved past the hand-wrap controversy that got him banned from boxing for a year after it was discovered he had loaded hand wraps for a bout with Shane Mosley.
“He’s had a big fight in between,” Davis said. “And I know this topic has been exhausted. It will come up again because it’s a natural for this fight because of the history between him and Cotto, but from my standpoint, we’re past it and we move on.”
That being said, the hand wrap controversy remains a storyline heading into the rematch, Davis said, and the network plans on doing a “two-part 24/7,” on the fight, for which a portion of the programming will be dedicated toward “going over what happened [with the hand wraps], and what’s going on between these two fighters and what these two fighters feel about each other, which is going to be an interesting subplot to this fight, as well.”
Davis is looking forward to the rematch and believes hard-core fight fans will get behind the match.
“I’m excited about this fight,” Davis said. “If you’re a boxing fan, the Mayweathers and the Pacquiaos get you excited, but it’s these kinds of fights between Cotto and Margarito, where you can really tell a true boxing fan, because it’s the true boxing fan who really appreciates this kind of fight.”
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.