The long awaited fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is finally etched in stone, but as far as the details of the television production, that has yet to be officially announced. However, some details have leaked out and it appears that the fight will be a combined HBO and Showtime production. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reports that this will mark the first time since 2002 that the two networks will have produced a fight together.
Thirteen years ago, HBO and Showtime co-produced the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson heavyweight fight. And they’re coming together again on Mayweather-Pacquiao on May 2 in Las Vegas.
Mannix reports like the Lewis-Tyson fight, the announcers for the pay per view telecast will be a combined HBO-Showtime crew. HBO’s Jim Lampley, who will be joined by Showtime’s Al Bernstein and HBO’s Roy Jones. Lampley has been critical of Mayweather in the past and the boxer evidently tried to keep the announcer from calling the fight, but as Mannix reports, HBO insisted on having him there.
According to sources, the broadcast team for the fight will be Jim Lampley, Al Bernstein and Roy Jones, with Max Kellerman and Jim Gray reporting from the locker rooms. Lampley, the face of HBO Boxing who has been critical of Mayweather in recent years, was a point of contention for Mayweather’s team during the negotiations.
Ultimately, HBO prevailed and Lampley, the best boxing play by play man of this generation, was assigned the blow-by-blow duties.
In addition, HBO’s Max Kellerman and Showtime’s Jim Gray will be stationed in each respective boxer’s locker room before and after the fight. Showtime’s James Brown and Paulie Malignaggi will be the hosts of the pre-fight activities.
Mannix reports that it was CBS’s top executive who helped to broker the agreement between the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps.
Negotiations—at least the third in the last six years—were brokered by Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, the parent company of Showtime, which has Mayweather under an exclusive contract. The principles, which included Moonves, Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Mayweather advisor Al Haymon, conducted detailed discussions over the last few months to finalize a fight that is estimated to be worth north of $250 million.
HBO Sports President Ken Hershman said the joint production for Lennox-Tyson helped the two networks come together again for Mayweather-Pacquaio:
“The Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis joint pay-per-view fight was a great roadmap for this fight. It showed that this can be done successfully. There’s a lot of mechanics that go into this when two networks are working together, and those mechanics carry forward in terms of how things operate behind the scenes”
Expect shoulder programming such as HBO 24/7 or Showtime All Access to be produced to help promote the fight. In addition, additional showings on CNN and CBS/CBS Sports Network could be in the works. Boxing fans have been waiting a long time for a Mayweather-Pacquaio fight and finally have their chance to watch the pugilists in action come May 2nd.