What’s important for Manny
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (Associated Press) - March 17, 2017 - 12:00am

WBO welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao is supposed to fight twice this year but at the moment, nothing is set on the table as far as opponents, dates and sites are concerned. For sure, there is interest among promoters to market a Pacquiao fight. The problem is nobody’s showing any money so far to back up a contract.

How much is Pacquiao really worth? When Pacquiao took on WBO welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas last November, the talk was his guarantee was anywhere between $4 to $6 Million – a far cry from the $120 to $150 Million he pocketed from the Floyd Mayweather duel in 2015. Pacquiao was also assured a share of the pay-per-view sales which Top Rank handled instead of HBO.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said the Pacquiao-Vargas fight generated a little over 300,000 pay-per-view hits. It was the lowest figure for a Pacquiao bout since the David Diaz massacre brought in 206,000 in 2008. Pacquiao has figured in seven contests which delivered at least a million pay-per-view hits – Oscar de la Hoya with 1.25 million, Miguel Cotto with 1.25 million, Antonio Margarito with 1.15 million, Sugar Shane Mosley with 1.34 million, Juan Manuel Marquez III with 1.4 million, Marquez IV with 1.15 million and Mayweather with 4.6 million.

The Vargas fight may or may not be an indicator of Pacquiao’s slipping popularity. What seems to be more certain is it was an indicator of the fight game’s downtrend in fan interest.  For instance, the Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol fight drew only 55,000 subscriptions on pay-per-view last July. Two weeks after Pacquiao’s win over Vargas, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward fought before a pay-per-view audience of only 160,000. Mexican star Canelo Alvarez’ knockout of Liam Smith brought in 300,000 on HBO last September – just matching what the Pacquiao-Vargas fight checked in. Mayweather’s last fight against Andre Berto recorded only 400,000 pay-per-view hits in 2015.

Because the Pacquiao-Vargas fight was produced by Top Rank on pay-per-view, Arum said the Filipino icon stood to earn more than if HBO put up the show. Top Rank charged $59.99 for standard definition and $69.99 for high definition viewing. Assuming all the hits were for standard viewing, total revenues would be about $18 Million. If you net out production and linkage costs plus a reasonable percentage for Top Rank, Pacquiao could still end up with a share of at least $5 Million. So it’s likely he walked away with about $10 Million in his bank account.

At 38, Pacquiao really doesn’t need to keep fighting for money. He’s made his bundle from fighting since 1995. The big money started to pour in after Pacquiao’s US debut in 2001. Forbes Magazine estimated that Pacquiao has earned over $500 Million in his career. So what he got from fighting Vargas was just loose change compared to his purse for taking on Mayweather.  

An Australian group offered up to $7 Million for Pacquiao to stake his WBO crown against local boy Jeff Horn in Brisbane in April but that was ignored when the Dubai Tourism Authority supposedly tendered about $40 Million to host his next fight in the Emirates. Instead of Horn, Amir Khan was named to be Pacquiao’s opponent and Olympic silver medalist announced he was ready to go up against his ex-sparmate.

Arum wasn’t involved in talks with the Dubai group and doubted whether the offer was for real. Apparently, no money was shown on the table and Arum has taken over negotiations to book Pacquiao’s next fight. If Pacquiao plans to fight twice this year, the first could be in July and the second in November.

Pacquiao said he’d like to end his career with a fight at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena, maybe against Marquez in a fifth showdown. The last two Pacquiao-Marquez fights registered over a million pay-per-view hits each. There’s no reason why a fifth duel wouldn’t do the same. The hitch is Marquez has declared that he’d never fight Pacquiao again. That’s a lot of hogwash. Marquez wants a retirement fight, meaning a swan song for the biggest paycheck possible and he knows nobody else is able to provide that opportunity than Pacquiao. If you show Marquez the money, he’ll fight Pacquiao anywhere, anytime.

But before a possible fifth encounter with Marquez, Pacquiao has a fight to hurdle, possibly in July. It could be against Horn or Khan in a tune-up for the big one in November. A rematch with Mayweather now appears to be pipe dream. Mayweather is talking of facing MMA star Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on June 10.

 

 

MANNY PACQUIAO
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