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Bob Arum mentions ESPN, Turner and Showtime to possibly carry Pacquiao

Fighters Network
Photo by: Naoki Fukuda

Photo by: Naoki Fukuda

Bob Arum is in the process of trying to find a television partner to distribute Manny Pacquiao’s return bout against Jessie Vargas on Nov. 5 and listed ESPN, Turner Broadcasting and even Showtime as potential carriers after HBO passed on the fight, he told on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be distributed on Dish (Network), Direct TV, etc., etc., and now we’re working on a distribution partner to fill the role of HBO,” Arum said in a phone interview. “Definitely it’s not going to be HBO. HBO had a contract and decided to pass because it was two weeks in front of their Ward-Kovalev fight.”

Sergey Kovalev’s light heavyweight championship with Andre Ward is schedule for Nov. 19 in Las Vegas on HBO PPV. Pacquiao’s bout with Vargas is on Nov. 5 and will also appear on the pay-per-view platform. “If they hadn’t passed on the right, we wouldn’t have had any option,” said Arum of having the Nov. 5 fight on HBO PPV. “They had a contract.” HBO has now given up its contractual right to any of his future fights, Arum said, including a possible lucrative rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. HBO Sports, which declined comment, had a multi-fight deal with Pacquiao; a source said it’s not clear if the contract becomes void if Pacquiao leaves for one fight.

Arum hasn’t reached out to Showtime yet about carrying Pacquiao-Vargas, he said. Showtime told on Monday it’s open to carrying Pacquiao’s next fight but no discussions have taken place yet with Showtime boxing chief Stephen Espinoza. “I haven’t spoken to them,” Arum said. “But there would be no impediment to that.”

Arum is currently vacationing in Aspen. “When I get back next week, Stephen will be one of the guys I’m calling,” he said. The other options to carry the fight are Turner and ESPN, he said.