Ken Hershman on Pacquiao/Bradley

By Robert Ecksel on June 4, 2012
Ken Hershman on Pacquiao/Bradley
I wasn't expecting a Lateef Kayode-style rant, and my expectations were gratefully met


Fights like Saturday’s pay-per-view extravaganza between WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and undefeated Timothy Bradley are the lifeblood of HBO Sports.

I spoke with Ken Hershman, the new boss of HBO Sports, about this weekend’s pay-per-view bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Hershman is a pleasant chap who chooses his words with care. I wasn’t expecting a Lateef Kayode-style rant complete with fractured syntax, four-letter words, and talk of the “motherland,” and my expectations were gratefully met.

“I’ve seen Timothy grow up in his boxing career. He’s never lost,” said Hershman, “and this is his biggest challenge obviously—by a lot. But the kid’s going to come to fight. He’s going to be ready. He’s not protecting that undefeated record going against Pacquiao June 9th, so you’ve got to give him props.”

Bradley had been inactive for almost a year. Family matters and promotional concerns put his career on ice. His return bout against Joel Casamayor on the Pacquiao-Marquez III undercard in November was welcome, but was also disappointing, in part because El Cepillo might have been high as a kite.

“Boxing’s a tough sport to get to the pinnacle, so you’re never going to get there in an easy fashion. It’s always going to be hard. But he’s a committed person and I know he’s been training his butt off. There’s going to be no giving an inch in that fight.”

Because Hershman is still relatively new in his job, having transitioned from Showtime to HBO, I wanted to know how it was going.

“It’s been great. It’s been exciting. I’m enjoying it. I’m having a great time. HBO’s an amazing place. So I look forward to hopefully a long and prosperous career there.”

The Super Six World Boxing Classic was Hershman’s baby. It was well conceived if not perfectly executed. But the Super Six succeeded in bringing some clarity to a doggedly chaotic sport and catapulted the careers of Andre Ward and Carl Froch, if not into the stratosphere, into boxing heaven.

“I’m a fan of boxing tournaments,” Hershman said, “in the right weight class at the right time and in the right context. But I’m so new in this position that I really can’t tell you whether there’s anything in the cards; nothing in the immediate future, but maybe down the road.”

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  1. jun morales 01:57am, 06/05/2012

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