THE heated network war between two of the country’s largest television networks stands in the way of a possible blockbuster fight card featuring the two biggest names in Philippine boxing.
Newly-crowned World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. admitted the possibility of him seeing action in the undercard of boxing superstar and Filipino compatriot Manny Pacquiao’s next fight in Macau on November 23.
According to Donaire, who arrived in the country Sunday night following his technical unanimous decision win over Simpiwe Vetyeka over the weekend to wrest the 126-lbs version of the WBA, it was Top Rank Promotions chairman Bob Arum himself who mentioned the likelihood of him being included as the major undercard when Pacquiao makes his ring return five months from now.
“We heard it from Bob (of his next fight in November). So if everything goes well, baka ma-undercard ako kay Manny Pacquiao,” said Donaire during the early-morning press conference tendered for him by ABS-CBN on Monday.
But with the two fighters belonging to rival stations ABS-CBN (for Donaire) and GMA-7 (for Pacquiao), the exclusive rights on which network would air the fight card already looms as a big problem.
No one among officials of the two networks contacted by Spin.ph wanted to touch the sensitive issue, saying they’d rather talk about it once everything had been formalized by Top Rank.
But an insider from Team Donaire believes that wouldn’t be possible given the intense rivalry between the two giant TV stations.
“I don’t think it’s doable,” said the source.
Other than the television rights, fight purse is also a factor to be considered for a first ever boxing card featuring Pacquiao, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion, and Donaire.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao received US$20 million in his last outing against Timothy Bradley, while Donaire had his biggest paycheck of US$1.3 million in his fight against Guillermo Rigondeaux last year.
Against Vetyeka, the 'Filipino Flash’ earned US$600,000, according to Arum.
“It’s understandable Pacquiao will get the bulk of the money in the fight card. But Nonito’s camp definitely would also seek a higher paycheck,” said the source. “Of course, that’s for Bob (Arum) to settle.”
Arum himself brought the idea of Donaire seeing action in a boxing card featuring Pacquiao shortly after the Filipino’s controversial victory over Vetyeka on Saturday night at the Cotai Arena.
“I think if Pacquiao's fight ends up here (in Macau), why wouldn’t we add that (Donaire-Vetyeka rematch) to the card in addition to Zou Shiming title fight plus another fight,” said the 82-year-old promoter.