Manny Pacquiao on HBO Pay-Per-View head to head against the UFC on Fox Sports network television on Nov. 12?
Bring it on, says Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
The Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC) and Fox Sports Media Group has announced a multi-year deal, with their first-ever event scheduled for Nov. 12 — the same day Pacquiao and Marquez are to meet in their third bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"I mean, who do you think they're going to pick — UFC or Manny Pacquiao?" said Arum, whose company is promoting Pacquiao's third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on that date. "I mean, this is a great development, because whatever little crossover there is between UFC fans and boxing fans, they're all going to be Manny Pacquiao fans."
"This is free television on Fox against the close circuit. All that it's going to do is give us publicity and rally the boxing fans and rally the public, and it's the wrong fighter to do it against."
Pacquiao-Marquez III will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View, which will promote the fight with its 24/7 series on free-cable networks affiliated with HBO. In addition, Pacquiao is scheduled to be interviewed on CNN internationally as well as on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," said Arum.
"This is like the greatest news for us, because the cable companies and the satellite providers are going absolutely nuts. And you're going to see the biggest advertising campaign in history," said Arum. "I'm telling you that this Pacquiao fight is going to be the highest pay per view number in history. It's going to be like a war."
Pacquiao-Marquez III will also be promoted during the Major League Baseball playoffs and the NBA season on TBS and TNT, respectively, the latter assuming that the NBA's lockout ends.
Finally, HBO will televise events during the week of the fight, including the final news conference and the weigh-in.
"We're going to get huge publicity about Fox running this UFC against the biggest pay-per-view event of the year, which is backed by the cable operators and the satellite providers. It's going to be like a power play with Fox against the cable operators to try to hurt them economically," said Arum.
"But it's not going to hurt them economically. I'm telling you that the cable systems and the satellites are going to pour a s—load of time and money into advertising this. Like I said, I'm telling you that it's going to be like a war."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com