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Not just about money

Solar Sports chief operating officer Peter Chanliong knows how to get things done and he wouldn’t be where he is now if he didn’t.

The other day, Chanliong and Solar Sports vice president for marketing Jude Turcuato spoke about the giant cable network’s tie-up with GMA-7 for the coverage of the Manny Pacquiao-Jorge Solis fight in San Antonio on April 14.

First of all, Chanliong said sealing the deal wasn’t a coup like Solar pulled the rug from under somebody in a magic trick.

"As an initial step, we negotiated directly with Manny and his lawyer Jeng (Franklin Gacal) straight up on the rights for pay-per-view, cable and theater,"he said. "We had several meetings, some in General Santos City, and it was a process of many discussions. Our goal was to give Manny the credit he deserves. ABS-CBN had the right of first refusal for free TV but when Manny turned down ABS-CBN’s offer, an opportunity was created for us."

Chanliong said Solar put a bid on the table that reflected Pacquiao’s true worth.

"Manny’s at the top of his game," he pointed out. "We offered him a fair deal. His name is the key to selling a boxing show. He’s the center of attraction, not Marquez or Barrera. We made an offer based on what befits his caliber as a marquee star."

Chanliong declined to reveal the terms of Solar’s bid because it’s not company policy to disclose financial details. But he said it was "south of seven figures," meaning less than $1 million. The clue doused cold water on speculation that Solar is coughing up $800,000 alone for free TV. He admitted the free TV fee comprised a little over 65 percent of the total amount.

Chanliong said Solar carefully studied the math before submitting a bid to Pacquiao. "Solar is a business organization and we don’t do business to lose money,"he said. "We turned to GMA-7 because this was an opportunity for us to work with a major free TV network as a telecast partner. In Manny’s second fight against Morales, we worked with ABS-CBN. In the third fight, we had total coverage rights but in deference to Manny’s wishes, we gave up free TV to ABS-CBN."

Chanliong said Solar’s fresh deal with Pacquiao is a win-win situation for both parties.

"This wasn’t just about money per se," he noted. "This was also about relationship. Solar and Manny are comfortable with each other. We go back a long way. We have no agenda and we’re sincerely committed to be a partner of MP Promotions whether it’s a big card or a small card."

Pacquiao’s brother Rogelio, who is president of MP Promotions, said he’ll never forget Solar for agreeing to cover Bobby Pacquiao’s fight against Hector Velazquez last year when other networks shied away.

As for Golden Boy’s attempt to stop the Pacquiao-Solis fight, Chanliong said it was doomed from the start. "Going to court is an option available to anyone but the suit had no basis," he said. "Maybe, this will lead to a better appreciation of what Manny stands for. Golden Boy must realize that Pacquiao versus Marquez is a much stronger draw than a Barrera versus Marquez rematch. Everyone wants to fight Manny, even Shane Mosley, because he’s the most exciting fighter in the world today."

Chanliong described the April 14 card as a blockbuster. "It’s a great card with an all-star lineup,"he said. "First, there’s Manny and he’s a pay-per-view magnet by himself. Then you’ve got Brian Viloria, Jorge Arce, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and another Filipino rising star Bernabe Concepcion."

Chanliong labeled Solis a more dangerous opponent for Pacquiao than Barrera or Marquez because he’s hungry.

"Manny is Solis’ ticket to fame," he said. "Manny should expect the best from a tough opponent. Solis comes from a boxing family. He’ll get solid support from the large Mexican community in San Antonio. He’s younger than Manny and he knows how to use his height and reach to advantage. His unbeaten record speaks for itself. Manny has to be in tip-top condition to beat him but I have no doubt Manny will take care of business on April 14."

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