Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will finally face each other in a May 2 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas that will unify their welterweight titles.
HBO, which has an agreement with Pacquiao, and Showtime, which has an agreement with Mayweather, will co-produce the fight, which will be broadcast on pay-per-view. In a joint conference call held by the two networks shortly after Mayweather announced the fight on social media, Showtime Sports executive VP Stephen Espinoza indicated that the broadcasting team for the fight would be a mix of HBO and Showtime talent.
“We’ve had significant discussions about who will make up the team,” Espinoza said. “We haven’t resolved all of that. It will be an all-star team.”
Some details of the HBO-Showtime partnership remain unresolved. Executives on the conference call would not answer a question about who would hold replay rights to the fight. Also unsettled is how behind-the-scenes programming leading up to the fight, a staple for both networks’ boxing coverage, will work.
“We know we’re going to do programming to support this,” said HBO Sports president Ken Hershman. “It deserves it, but those details have yet to be fully fleshed out.”
Mayweather’s two welterweight world titles as well as Pacquiao’s welterweight title will be at stake in the fight. The two fighters, long considered the best in the world pound-for-pound, had failed for years to come to an agreement that would bring them into the ring together.
Both executives credited a chance courtside encounter between Mayweather and Pacquiao at Jan. 28 in Miami as the Heat faced the Milwaukee Bucks — the first face-to-face meeting between the two fighters — for helping the deal to finally come together. Espinoza also credited his boss, CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves.
“He was deeply committed to making this deal,” Espinoza said. “He was someone that all parties in this negotiation respected, and he was really the catalyst for seeing this through.”