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According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, top brass from both Showtime and HBO met at a New York restaurant on Wednesday to discuss Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao.
The fighters are understood to be edging closer to an agreement on a bout in May, with reports earlier this week suggesting that Pacquiao had agreed to terms on the fight.
The Filipino allegedly signed off a 60-40 purse split in favour of his opponent while also agreeing to the venue and drug-testing plan put in place for before the bout.
While his publicist later suggested that wasn’t the case, he did reveal that talks were progressing while Mayweather’s camp revealed that an announcement is expected sooner rather than later.
However, while those negotiations continue, there is also the significant matter of how the fight will be broadcast, with Showtime/CBS which has Mayweather under contract, and HBO/Time Warner having Pacquiao under contract having to come to an agreement.
Both networks will want to air the bout and so they will need to agree on a joint pay-per-view broadcast, although issues will arise over who has production controls, promotional rights and so forth.
Nevertheless, it would appear that progress is also being made in this respect with Rafael reporting that Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank and Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager Stephen Espinoza met with HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler and Sports President Ken Hershman at an undisclosed restaurant in New York on Wednesday.
It is understood that they discussed the framework of a deal although a source claimed that they are “at about the 40-meter mark” if it was a 100-meter dash.
Both networks declined to comment to Rafael but it is obvious that they have a fierce rivalry between them which will need to be put aside in order to agree on production, announcers and documentaries.
However, the precedent is there as they were able to come to an agreement back in 2002 when Mike Tyson took on Lennox Lewis in a heavyweight championship fight and so hopefully the blueprint is there for them to negotiate and compromise.