By Lem Satterfield
The battle between HBO and Showtime has become a red-hot topic since the start of the new year. Showtime began to make a serious run in the final quarter of 2010, when they signed undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute to an exclusive multi-fight contract. They opened a few eyes by closing several deals to showcase some of Top Rank's stars like Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Lopez.
More eyes began to open when Showtime closed a deal with Top Rank to place Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga, which takes place on March 12 in Las Vegas, on their pay-per-view arm. It's the first pay-per-view for Showtime since the Fernando Vargas-Ricardo Mayorga clash in 2007.
It's become a customary occurrence to see fighters jumping ship from Showtime to HBO. Everything changed on Friday when Michael Koncz, the adviser to Manny Pacquiao, exclusively disclosed that a deal was reached with Showtime/CBS to carry Pacquiao's May 7 pay-per-view showdown with Shane Mosley. Pacquiao is considered the biggest star in boxing, which brings an entirely different angle to the playing field between Showtime and HBO.
Showtime is capitalizing on their ability to provide coverage for major fights on CBS, which reaches 115 million homes compared to HBO's 28 million homes.
"We've worked with HBO for many, many fights, and it's always great working with them. But, you know, sometimes change is good for everybody involved. So we're making that change and we're going on Showtime this time," said Koncz.
Cotto's trainer, Emanuel Steward, who also works as a ringside commentator for HBO, called the development "confusing and stressful."
"I don't know too many details about it, and I don't try to be concerned about it. But when I first got involved with taking the fight, I just figured automatically that it was going to be on HBO because Miguel has always been an HBO fighter," said Steward, who first was made aware of the potential for Cotto-Mayorga to be on Showtime during Wednesday's New York press conference.
"New York was the first time that I heard about it. Since then, I don't know what all has been going on. It seems like it's been bounced all over the place. There's so much going on right now that I'm not even interested in knowing about it. I'm just trying to get through this fight and hope that they can sort out this Showtime-HBO war, or this promoter war, or whatever's going on."
Lem Satterfield is the boxing editor at AOL FanHouse and the news editor at BoxingScene.com. To read more from Lem Satterfield, go to AOL FanHouse by