By Rey Fortaleza
Pacquiao and Vargas are on the road to their November date at the Thomas and Mack Center and the rest of the pieces are falling in to place. Because Top Rank will be distributing the pay per view, there are a few question marks that surround the event. The broadcast commentary team is a quite notable piece of the puzzle that revealed itself recently, with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith being announced along with Friday Night Fights host Brian Kenney. Timothy Bradley will be ringside as an analyst as well on the night of the fight. Top Rank staple Crystina Poncher will serve as a ringside reporter as part of the production crew but she will not be the lone female on the broadcast. Charissa Thompson, known for being on Fox’s NFL Kickoff will host the evening’s affairs.
The lack of HBO as a partner for distribution is not a first for Arum, who claimed to be saving 7.5% of the revenue for the evening. He placed Pacquiao on Showtime for his fight with Shane Mosley in 2011, a unanimous decision win, after a dispute between Top Rank and HBO. The absence of HBO does not stand alone as the only curiosity of the event, Nonito Donaire will be on the same card as Manny Pacquiao for the first time ever. Both have been multiple weight champions; both have spent time at or near the top of boxing’s pound-for-pound lists and both have been promoted by Top Rank, so it is interesting that this is happening for the first time. Placing Pacquiao and Donaire on the same card would be a great way to familiarize Donaire with the masses who tune in to see Manny perform. The only problem in this situation is that Donaire could easily headline his own card in the past, meaning that the financial opportunity of having 2 cards is too much to pass up.
The night of November 5th will be a night with a lot of excitement surrounding it and if it lives up to the hype, the crowd will be getting their moneys worth.