SBD/February 1, 2012/Media

HBO's Hershman Promises Not To Be Consumed By Mayweather-Pacquiao Talks

Hershman said HBO staying out of negotiations offers best chance for fight
HBO Sports President Ken Hershman "promised not to be consumed" by a prospective fight between boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, which "could be the most profitable ever," according to Mitch Abramson of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Hershman yesterday said, "I don't think it's imperative. I don't think it's anything the sport needs in terms of saving." He added that the "best strategy for ensuring the fight happens is for HBO to stay out of the negotiations." Abramson notes Hershman's stance is "in contrast from the one that was taken by his predecessor at HBO, Ross Greenburg, who was reportedly forced to resign in July, in part because of a fractured relationship with Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum." Greenburg "desperately wanted that fight to happen, and acted as a mediator between the two camps during negotiations that took place in the summer of 2010 that ultimately broke down" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/1). On Long Island, Greg Logan notes Hershman "expressed his admiration" for Mayweather and Pacquiao. However, he said that "neither needs the other to enhance his legacy." Hershman: "I do believe there is a 'sell-by date' by which time this would become not what it should be, which is the biggest boxing event in history." He "expressed hope that Mayweather and Pacquiao will meet by the end of this year or early in 2013." Hershman noted, "After that, it's going to get less and less relevant" (NEWSDAY, 2/1).

LOTS OF RESPONSIBILITIES: ESPN.com's Dan Rafael wrote Hershman, who joined HBO in October, is "starting to delve more into programming the network's fights for the second quarter and beyond." Besides boxing, Hershman also oversees "a critically acclaimed sports documentary department" that produces "24/7" and news magazine show "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel." But Rafael noted boxing "is the foundation." Hershman is keeping his plans "close to the vest," but did say that he "likes the idea of continuing to do tournaments." He also is "open to more heavyweight action, especially involving champion brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko." But Hershman said that he "sees no big-time matchups on the horizon" (ESPN.com, 1/31).
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