By Jake Donovan
Bob Arum didn’t have to once again threaten to take Manny Pacquiao across the street in order to ensure that his pay-per-view showdown with Tim Bradley is given more than the status quo on the promotional front.
HBO received the message loud and clear last year, when a Pacquiao fight was distributed by an American network other than its own for the first time in nearly a decade. The aftermath of his bout with Shane Mosley taking place on Showtime pay-per-view sent shockwaves through the industry and began a chain reaction resulting in the forced resignation of HBO Sports executive Ross Greenburg.
Needless to say, HBO took nothing for granted in securing the rights to distribute the June 9 show live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Part of their winning offer included the assurance that the network will continue to explore new heights in showcasing both fighters and the event itself.
“It’s a pleasure to be here again and partnering with Top Rank on this special event,” noted Tammi Ross, Vice President and General Manager of HBO Sports PPV, during Tuesday’s presser in Los Angeles. “These fighters will be spotlighted in ways you’ve never seen before.”
HBO helped break new ground in the presentation of Pacquiao’s third showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez last November. Episodes of its award-winning ‘24/7’ series appeared on CNN and promotional spots ran throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs on TBS.
Fight week included extended up-to-date footage through HBO’s “24/7 Overtime” special, as well as the network providing live coverage of the weigh-in, a first in the network’s 35-plus year involvement in the sport.
It remains to be seen what the network has in store, but it goes without saying that Arum wouldn’t have settled for anything less than moving forward. The Hall of Fame promoter leads by example, as his Top Rank company is already planning events that involve greater media access than previously allowed for a fight of this magnitude.
“We’re (going to) have frequent media visits to Tim’s training camp, which is here in California,” Arum announced to the media, in a move that is in line with his promise to turn Bradley into a major attraction when he signed the unbeaten Californian last year.
It stands to reason that greater access will be made for Bradley given his location, as Pacquiao often trains in the Philippines for most of his camp before concluding at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, which of course is run by his Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. But for those in the media literally willing to go the extra mile to catch the heart of Pacquiao’s planned 10-week training camp, all it takes is a passport and a call to the Top Rank office.
“We’re organizing a trip courtesy of Philippine Airlines - which offers special rates to travel to the Philippines - to visit Manny Pacquiao’s training camp in Baguio,” Arum stated.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com