No, you did not read the title wrong. HBO has announced that it will pass on Manny Pacquiao’s return bout against Jesse Vargas. Vargas, wasn’t exactly the fans number one pick for an opponent of Pacquiao. In fact, he may have not even been on the list. Regardless, it’s still a surprise move by HBO, who has shown nothing but support for the Filipino superstar. Bob Arum told told RingTV.com:
“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.”
By opting to not air Pacquiao-Vargas on November 5, HBO surrendered their contractual rights to Pacquiao’s fights. This situation leaves Arum looking for a network to air Pacquiao-Vargas on, which Arum has said he will be shopping around.
I think there is more to it than the answer HBO gave Arum. It was probably less about Ward-Kovalev and more about Pacquiao’s opponent Jesse Vargas. Nothing against Vargas, he is a great fighter. However, I guarantee you if Pacquiao was going to be facing Terence Crawford on November 5, it would be getting aired on HBO pay per view.
What is the bright side in all this? Well fans have a chance to possibly, keep in mind I said possibly, see the fight free of charge on a network such as ESPN or CBS.