CNN to air pre-fight coverage

Updated: August 17, 2011, 4:26 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

The promotion for Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s return to the ring after a 16-month sabbatical to face welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will include coverage of the buildup on CNN, plus the live fight being show in hundreds of movie theaters nationwide.

Like most major HBO PPV bouts, Mayweather-Ortiz will include four weekly episodes of HBO's Emmy award-winning "24/7" reality series, which will follow the fighters throughout their training camps. This will be Mayweather's fifth time being featured on "24/7" and the first for Ortiz.

But, in an effort to gain more exposure for the fight, Time Warner, HBO's parent company, is using many of the assets in the company to promote the fight. That includes CNN, which will also air "24/7 Mayweather/Ortiz," the network announced Thursday.

The first half-hour episode premiers at 10 p.m. ET/PT Aug. 27 on HBO and will be followed by an airing on CNN at midnight ET/PT. The second episode will debut at midnight ET/PT Sept. 3 on CNN with the third and fourth episodes airing back-to-back on Sept. 16 at midnight ET/PT, less than 24 hours before the fight.

"This is a proud day for the sport of boxing," HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet told ESPN.com. "We are delighted to see those CNN letters associated with HBO Sports programming. It is the first of a number of exciting new initiatives across HBO and various Time Warner properties which will be unveiled in the coming weeks. The exposure of HBO's '24/7' and boxing to the quality and breadth of CNN's distribution base is simply outstanding."

CNN also plans to air episodes of "24/7" as part of the promotion for pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao's third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, which takes place Nov. 12 on HBO PPV and also at the MGM Grand. Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, told ESPN.com of those plans when he announced last week that he had made a deal with HBO PPV over rival Showtime PPV to produce and distribute the fight.

Mayweather-Ortiz, along with the rest of the Sept. 17 pay-per-view telecast, will be shown in HD in more than 380 movie theaters across the country under a deal between Golden Boy Promotions and NCM Fathom. The suggested retail price for tickets is $25, which is less than half of the price of the HBO PPV broadcast.

This will be the sixth fight since 2009 that Golden Boy and NCM Fathom will be putting on in movie theaters. A list of theater locations and prices is available at www.FathomEvents.com.

"If there's one thing people know about me, it's how much I enjoy performing on a big stage and in this case, the big screen," Mayweather said in a statement. "Fans in the theaters can expect a great night of boxing from me and the rest of the stars on the show that night, but I have no doubt that my star will shine the brightest."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.

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