Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum believes ESPN is the perfect outlet to showcase a potential showdown between lightweight bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and WBA world champion Jorge Linares.
Arum has an ESPN televised date of May 12, from New York's Madison Square Garden, penciled in for Lomachenko's debut at 135-pounds.
He tried to secure Linares as the opponent for the card - but there is a scheduling conflict for Linares' promoter, Golden Boy Promotions.
Golden Boy is unable to commit to that date, because HBO will be televising the replay of the Canelo-Golovkin rematch - likely paired with a live card. The Canelo-Golovkin pay-per-view, taking place on May 5, is Golden Boy's biggest show of the year.
Top Rank has an exclusive television deal with ESPN. Golden Boy is willing to make that fight, but not on May 12.
However, Arum's company has already secured MSG and there are other factors involved that make it very difficult for them to move away to a different date.
Also, HBO holds the contractual right to match any offer to secure Linares' next fight.
Golden Boy's President, Eric Gomez, advised BoxingScene.com that HBO is willing to offer more money to secure that contest for their airwaves - for May 12.
But Arum explains that staging that contest on HBO would be a waste, because ESPN has a much larger audience.
"HBO is a very, very small network. It gets a limited number of viewers. ESPN, because it's free, has a potential audience of more than 3x HBO. So to put a good fight on HBO is sort of a waste when we have the ability to put it on a major network like ESPN. It's time that boxing got out from under the shadows. I mean, the premium networks have been good to boxing but they have limited audiences. WE need boxing to be seen by the most possible people, and that's over free television," Arum said during a Reddit chat.
"The plan now is for Vasyl to test the waters at 135. Hopefully we can get the Linares fight done for May 12th. If that's not possible, Lomachenko would look to fight [WBO lightweight champion Ray Beltran]."