Showtime's "Super Six" Boxing Tournament Beset By Delays, Controversy
Showtime's "Super Six" super-middleweight boxing tournament, "beset by injuries, withdrawals and controversy," has experienced delays that have "reinforced the argument against staging multi-fighter contests," according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. The tournament began in October '09 and is now scheduled to "conclude sometime in the fall -- two years after its start -- with a title-unifying bout at either Staples Center, Madison Square Garden or MGM Grand Garden Arena." Top Rank Chair Bob Arum, who does not have a fighter in the tournament, said, "I love tournaments but not the 'Super Six' concept. It draws things out too long and brings back losers. If you start with four or eight guys, and it's lose and go home, that would work. This tournament has become so confusing. Modeling it after the World Cup doesn't fit. This makes no sense." However, Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Ken Hershman said, "I'm not troubled by the time it's taken. That was the whole intent of this … that we'd have extended time where there'd be nonstop talk about this tournament" (L.A. TIMES, 5/14).
SETTING A NEW MARK: In Las Vegas, Steve Carp reported, "With the help of CBS, Manny Pacquiao's unanimous decision over Shane Mosley on May 7 attracted more pay-per-view buyers than any of his previous fights." CBS' cross-promotion, which included three episodes of "Fight Camp 360" on the net, "helped the Showtime pay-per-view card generate 1.3 million to 1.4 million buys." The "final tally is expected this week." Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, said, "We're very happy with CBS and Showtime. They were a great partner, and this is the biggest pay-per-view result in Manny's career." Arum added that he "thinks boxing could return to prime-time network television on CBS this year." But if it happens, it "will probably be without Pacquiao because he might be too expensive" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/15). In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted there "was much noise made about how CBS joining forces with Top Rank and Showtime PPV" for last week's fight "would dramatically increase the number of pay-per-view buys." But it "appears CBS' promotional reach didn't drastically change the PPV results" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/15). Meanwhile, MULTICHANNEL NEWS' R. Thomas Umstead reports there is a "dearth of potential PPV matches in the forseeable future." Industry observers said that the "category will be hard-pressed to continue a three-year run in which PPV boxing events have generated a combined 11 million PPV buys" (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 5/16 issue).