It took Floyd Mayweather Jr. 12 rounds Saturday night to defeat Oscar De La Hoya during a championship boxing match in Las Vegas. But YouTube users needed only a few hours to knock out HBO's plan for an exclusive rebroadcast Saturday of the pay-per-view fight.
The original broadcast featured on HBO's pay-per-view channel was available later in the weekend on YouTube. Some of the fight action seemed to have been culled from a poor-quality foreign-language broadcast. But one YouTube user uploaded a relatively high-quality copy of the 12-round fight that included announcer Jim Lampley's call and the post-fight decision.
Viewers were able to watch the fight in its entirety until shortly after 4 p.m. Monday, when the footage was replaced by a notice that the video was "no longer available due to a copyright claim by Home Box Office Inc."
HBO spokesman Ray Stallone said that "we take our copyright issues very seriously. We consider it extremely valuable programming and we reacted quickly when we saw that it was available." A YouTube spokesperson declined to comment on the fight video.
Interest, however, seemed to be somewhat tepid. Although the YouTube video that seemed to have been culled from a foreign feed drew several thousand hits, the relatively high-quality reproduction of HBO's broadcast drew, at best, a few hundred hits per round.
In contrast, a video clip purporting to be from the fight -- which showed a scantily clad woman dancing to rap music with explicit language -- drew nearly 200,000 hits.
Several copies of NBC's Kentucky Derby broadcast also were available online Monday. An NBC spokesman said that the network had not authorized YouTube to show the race that featured Street Sense charging from 19th place to win the first leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.