HBO wins rights for Mayweather-Cotto

Updated: February 24, 2012, 6:22 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s challenge of junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 5 will be carried on HBO PPV, which secured rights to the fight on Thursday despite competition from rival Showtime PPV.

"It's the best working with the best," Leonard Ellerbe, one of Mayweather's advisers, told ESPN.com. "We're looking forward to the numerous platforms they stepped up and brought to the table to make this deal happen. The fans won't be disappointed."

The fight will be Mayweather's eighth in a row on HBO PPV and ninth in his last 10 fights. However, Showtime, which caused a major stir when it got the rights to Manny Pacquiao's fight with Shane Mosley last year, was in the hunt, according to multiple sources.

When HBO lost Pacquiao-Mosley, it was one of the key factors in the forced resignation of former HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg in July.

Ken Hershman, who used to run the sports division at Showtime, left the network and was hired to replace Greenburg in October. Hershman started at HBO in January and landed Mayweather-Cotto as the first major pay-per-view of his administration.

"We're thrilled that Floyd Mayweather's fight with Miguel Cotto will be presented by HBO Pay-Per-View," Hershman said in a statement to ESPN.com. "We look forward to working with Floyd, Miguel, Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions on this special event."

Although not formally announced, there will be a "24/7" reality series in the build-up to the fight, plus additional programming and marketing that HBO promised as part of the deal.

Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs), a five-division world champion, will be seeking his second title in the 154-pound division when he faces three-division titleholder Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs), who will be making his third title defense, of Puerto Rico.

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