Prior to last Thursday’s New York press conference announcing the Pay Per View showdown between WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao and challenger Tim Bradley, Ken Hershman admitted being a little nervous.
Hershman was just a little more than a month into his new role as President of HBO Sports after having served his previous 19 years in a similar role at Showtime.
At Showtime, Hershman had helped to nurture the career of Bradley, the WBO’s current junior welterweight beltholder, and had won the rights to televise the Pacquiao’s victory over Shane Mosley.
But this was different. This time, he was representing his long-time opposition and introducing the first major boxing event of 2012.
So as he approached the podium for his big moment, after having been introduced by the fight’s promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, Hershman had to remind himself of the fact that he was doing so at the rival network.
Hershman did so by scribbling the HBO call letters on the top of the notes from which he read.
“After 19 years being somewhere else, I was just very humbled to be able to have that [HBO] at the top of the piece of paper,” said Hershman, during a recent interview with RingTV.com. “Because this is a special place, with a special history, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Hershman shared more of his thoughts in this Q&A with RingTV.com, wherein he also provided details of the network’s boxing schedule, including Pacquiao-Bradley and the May 5 clash featuring WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. challenging WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto on May 5.
RingTV.com: Were you nervous the night before the press conference?
RingTV.com: Coupled with his fight against Mosley, which was on Showtime, that was obviously the second time where you attended a Pacquiao press conference for a big fight. How exciting was that, being your first major boxing pay per view event as the president of HBO sports?
KH: I think that it will go down in my memory banks as one of the proudest moments of my career, because it happened so soon into my tenure, but it was just a special moment that you don’t get to be a part of very often.
To me, it’s a testament to HBO and what they bring to the table and how good they are at what they do, that it didn’t really require me to do much of anything other than to show up at the press conference and to have the privilege of announcing it.
We have such an amazing team here at HBO, so I think that it’s just fun for me, and I’m enjoying every minute, and I’m proud of the team effort that goes on every day.
Below is a list of HBO’s current boxing schedule for 2012, with comments from Hershman.
2012 HBO BOXING
“For me, Adrien Broner is one of the most exciting, young fighters in the game today, and, this is his toughest test to date. I just love to see kids like that get a challenged.
“He’s going to face a guy who is a very, very skilled counter-puncher, and he’s going to have to be careful. But he’s a very energetic, strong-willed kid and he has a tremendous punch.
“So, to me, this fight can’t be anything but exciting, and I don’t think that it goes the distance. But I’ll never pick anyone.”
Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) vs. Marcos Maidana (31-2, 28 KOs), welterweights
“I couldn’t imagine anybody rooting against Devon Alexander as a person, as an athlete, and, I don’t know who is going to win that fight, but my suspicion is that there will be no loser in that bout.”