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HBO, MGM Grand decline handling Pacquiao’s comeback bout

Senator Manny Pacquiao's boxing comeback this November will no longer be at the ring of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

A report by Chino Trinidad in Balitanghali on Wednesday said that the venue of Pacquiao's match against American boxer Jessie Vargas will be at the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Most of the boxing icon's major bouts, including the "Fight of the Century" with Floyd Mayweather, had been held at the MGM Grand.

The change was due to a conflict of schedule, the report said.

Meanwhile, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said that major television network HBO will not be airing the fight and that they are still seeking an alternative distribution partner.

HBO declined to handle the bout because they are set to air the match between pound for pound fighters Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev.

"Definitely it's not going to be HBO. HBO had a contract and decided to pass because it was two weeks in front of their Ward-Kovalev fight," Arum said.

Boxing analyst Sam Cooper suggested that the rejection of Pacquiao's bout was due to the boxer's motives.

"Pacquiao's comeback screams of someone returning for a paycheck and no other reason. It's not that though there's some pressing need for Manny to defeat a fringe champion like Vargas and nobody on Team Pacquiao appears to be all that concerned with unfinished boxing business," Cooper said in his blog.

However, Pacquiao said that it was his passion that caused him to come out of retirement.

"Alam mo, diyan ako tumanda, lumaki sa boxing. Siyempre 'yan ang hilig ko. Kumikita ako ng pera, pero kasama na rin 'yan, hindi naman pwedeng hindi ka bigyan ng premyo," he said.

Pacquiao retired from the sport after his victory over Timothy Bradley last April to focus on his duties as a politician. —Jessica Bartolome/KG, GMA News