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HBO vs Showtime: Bert Sugar on The Programming Battle

By Chris Robinson

The boxing world is still kind of buzzing about the recent announcement that Showtime-CBS will be airing the May 7th Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley pay-per-view event from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the past ten years Pacquiao had been a staple on HBO's airwaves but some shocking developments have insiders discussing the impact of this move as well as to how much of a blow this is to HBO's programming.

One man who isn't as taken back by others, showing his steadfast belief that the world's premier network is still at the top of the food chain, is boxing legend Bert Sugar. I called the astute historian and author over the weekend to discuss a few key aspects to the latest HBO/Showtime/Pacquiao saga and, as always, he was candid and on point with his delivery.

Read below for a few sound bytes from Bert on Arum's mindset in making the move, how well the fight will do finanically, and why HBO shouldn't be completely worried...

Arum's deal...

"It's Bob Arum who obviously got a deal that he wanted. He wanted CBS, which is Showtime's hand-in-hand partner. He wanted the exposure. He's a promoter. He goes for the best deal possible. It will show up in the pay-per-view buys. If he does better it was a good deal. If it doesn't he should have stuck with HBO."

How successful Showtime's venture will be...

"I don't know. It will go to how it turns out for the fight. Remember, HBO had 700,000 buys for Pacquiao-Clottey which was not an exciting fight nor was it expected to be. Can Showtime do better or won't they do better? You are sure to hear all kinds of comments as we begin to build up the fight. Is Sugar Shane Mosley the right opponent? I don't know if he will do as well."

The power that be...

"HBO has always been resourceful. HBO has always given us the best fighters. Showtime has been out of it for a while although they did have Mike Tyson and part of Julio Cesar Chavez. But HBO is resilient and if anybody writes them off, I still think they are the power that be in boxing. I think Showtime has done a good job I just think that HBO had done a much better job."

Power shift...

"As a final comment, I still think HBO is the power in boxing and has rightfully earned that and has done well. It's up to Showtime basically to show that they can compete. One fight does not a network make. But you have to remember that Showtime has half the number of subscribers that HBO has. But HBO is the power that be and they still remain so. If they lost one fight it doesn't shift that power."

Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. An archive of his work can be found here, and he can be reached at [email protected]

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User Comments and Feedback
Comment by jasonsaad on 01-31-2011

[QUOTE=LoadedWraps;10038580 I don't see how Showtime could ever replace 24/7, the award winning epic show to hype up big fights is critical to my pre fight excitement the show Fight Camp 360 that shotime put on for the super 6…

Comment by Gino Ros on 01-31-2011

[QUOTE=starsjuicebar;10038944]watch the bidding move up for top fighters and cable prices get cheaper.[/QUOTE] Can you please explain how cable prices will get cheaper as a result of this? Thanks.

Comment by starsjuicebar on 01-31-2011

watch the bidding move up for top fighters and cable prices get cheaper.

Comment by Pullcounter on 01-31-2011

i bet HBO is gonna miss all that missed revenue tho

Comment by LoadedWraps on 01-31-2011

I agree with him believeing that HBO is still the supreme power for boxing at this time, even with showtime reaping cash and boosting ratings from this next fight, HBO will still probably be the powerhouse for at least a…

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