Are we still interested in a Pacquiao fight?

November 4, 2016

For those not aware, Manny Pacquiao will be taking on Jessie Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday.  Without much buzz, Pacquiao returns to the ring which makes one wonder how many in the US will buy the PPV?

There are several factors that contribute to the general disregard for this event.

First, this is the first event in some time in which HBO has not been a part.  HBO PPV has been the primary distributor of Pacquiao events with just one detour to Showtime (2011’s fight against Shane Mosley).  HBO’s shoulder programming, primarily its 24/7 shows have helped promote his fights.  Despite the fact that the story lines for the shoulder programming became repetitive and stale, they were still vehicles to promote the fight.  On the bright side, Bob Arum will not have to pay the 7.5% fee (per Yahoo! Sports) it paid to HBO.

Despite the fact that the undercard has some interesting fights including China’s Zou Shiming and former fighter of the year Nonito Donaire, most (at least those in the US) seem to be passing on the PPV.

HBO is transitioning from Pacquiao as it searches for its next boxing star.  Later this month, HBO PPV will air Sergey Kovalev versus Andre Ward in as big a fight as there can be this fall.  HBO indicated that its budget limited it to invest in only one of the November fights and it chose Kovalev-Ward.  While this excuse seems sound, it’s clear that the Pacquiao fight was less appealing.  If Pacquiao would have agreed to fight Terrance Crawford, it would have been realistic to think that HBO would have found the necessary budget to do 2 PPVs in a month.

Secondly, Pacquiao’s comments about same-sex relationships has turned a portion of his fan base against him.  Pacquiao bases his viewpoints on his religion and tried to backtrack from his offensive remarks.  Yet, the damage was done as he lost his longtime sponsor, Nike, and HBO distanced itself from Pacquiao.  The casual boxing fan may have been turned off by these comments and will boycott Pacquiao as a result.

Finally, Pacquiao’s PPV star is fading.  Pacquiao is no longer the fierce, exciting fighter he used to be.  Perhaps the fourth fight (which was likely his last exciting fight in recent memory) with Juan Manuel Marquez where he was knocked unconscious took it out of him but he no longer has the traits of the old Manny Pacquiao.  Instead, he is the old Manny Pacquiao.  After JMM, he has knocked down an inferior Chris Algieri (UPDATED: he did knockdown Bradley twice in April) but has not threatened to stop an opponent since.  Notwithstanding his fight with Mayweather, Pacquiao’s last 4 fights have failed to muster more than 500K PPV buys.

It might be unfair to criticize an aging boxer for not being as good as he once was but it feels as though Pacquiao is hanging on to his career for monetary need.  Of course, that is the story of boxing.  His purse for this fight will be far less than his prior guarantees and Top Rank is banking on the fight being more of an international success in China than it will in the United States.  Pacquiao will continue to fight and he will still have a core fan base that will support him.  But, it’s clear that the days of his wild popularity of past him.

23 Responses to “Are we still interested in a Pacquiao fight?”

  1. tops E on November 4th, 2016 10:46 PM

    He knockdown bradley twice in his last fight…..

  2. Jason Cruz on November 4th, 2016 10:49 PM


  3. jf on November 5th, 2016 1:58 AM

    No, after the disastrous Pac-Mayweather engagement, this will make 300k or less.

  4. d on November 5th, 2016 5:21 AM

    With no HBO distribution, I’d expect this to do about 150k-200k buys, at most.

    Boxing has truly hit an all time low.

  5. Fight Fan on November 5th, 2016 5:51 AM

    Nope pac is done, but pac does not = boxing

  6. d on November 5th, 2016 7:00 AM

    I do agree, Pac is not the biggest star in boxing, but Canelo is and he can’t break 300k buys without another huge name. That is indicative of where the sport is.

  7. tops E on November 5th, 2016 11:29 AM

    I think pac mayweather 2 would still happen….i think if he wins in an exciting way against vargas…he’s stock will rise again…his last fight against bradley was good and he did very well….all he needs is a huge marketing spending hyping his fight like the UFC hahahaha….

  8. tops E on November 5th, 2016 11:31 AM

    Indicative of where the sport is….Yup how bout the sport of mma…1 promotion equals 80% of the sport and that one promotion down by 4 billion hahahaha

  9. Etops on November 5th, 2016 3:29 PM

    Lol at tops E. You can say the same about basketball,football,baseball and hockey. Maybe boxing should follow suit and actually have the best fighting the best and not fighting cans to get by.

  10. Joey Garcia on November 5th, 2016 11:59 PM

    I hope people are listening to a lot of Muse these days because many battles for people’s hearts and minds are being fought for. These men are Warriors they know not her way. When you Stand on the Book, Past Heavyweight Champions of the world cmon there’s no IGNORING the Elephant in the Room.
    The PAC-Man is not of this Earth.

  11. tops E on November 6th, 2016 2:33 AM

    Hahaha.good fight for pacman another knockdown….i think hes strongest at 140…..he made the fight look easy…he should fight more often or just get a rematch with mayweather….history first senator world champ!!! how he juggles his time is amazing

  12. tops E on November 6th, 2016 3:47 AM

    Bob arum is smart…saw the mat theres anta(china shoe brand),hennesy on the tv screen,2 chinese company,tecate(u.s. Mexican market),mighty sports ( philippine company),wynn(u.s.)…united nations….global truly global hahaha

  13. Wil on November 6th, 2016 8:54 AM

    Good card actually, and surprisingly, a good crowd of 16,000+. Pac has had 2 straight fights against championship caliber opponents and beaten both of then handily, knocking both of them down, and totally dominating them. It is clear that Pac is the best Welterweight in the world….and now that Haymon and Arum are working together, and that Schaefer has started Ringstar Sports, the sky is the limit with what fights can be made…..Manny can now fight anyone in the Haymons stable like never before. 2017 is going to be an interesting year in boxing. I would be very surprised if the ppv number broke 500K though, Vargas while known to the HBO Boxing crowd, had no name for casuals, Arum was smart to have the fight in Vargas’ hometown for gate draw. Arum was also smart to pack the undercards with both Mexican fighters and Chinese fighters as well. And unless I miss my guess, Zou Shiming is now the first world champion from the Peoples Republic of China?…a country with an emerging footprint in boxing. I suspect his popularity will give rise to more boxers from that country, which like the Russians and eastern Europeans joining boxing in the 90s to present, could alter the landscape of the sport again.
    Arum was right to sign Chinese talent. The next area to develop for boxing will be India and Pakistan with guys like Vigender Singh, Shiva Thapa, etc.

  14. Warrior on November 6th, 2016 10:47 AM

    Pacquiao-Vargas drew a higher attendance in Las Vegas (16,132) than each of the McGregor-Diaz fights (15,539 & 14,898).
    Jesse Vargas ($2.8 million) earned higher pay than Nate Diaz ($2 million & $500K).
    Manny Pacquiao ($4 million) earned base pay of Conor McGregor’s two fights combined ($3 million & $1 million).
    Does not include Pacquiao’s April 2016 fight vs. Timothy Bradley.

  15. tops E on November 6th, 2016 12:14 PM

    I think wynn sponsored the event and arum being a friend made and undercard to bring high rollers from asia who pacman usually brings in droves….but with an unknown vargas….he needed to add shimming,japanese boxer….also in macau where shimming is popular and wynn has casinos….so its all cross promotion…..i wonder how much arum charge for chinese tv rights

  16. d on November 6th, 2016 2:14 PM

    Topps, the money involved with this fight was dirt. The reason why we know this is that Pacquaio is getting paid mostly off of points. His purse was a fraction of his previous ones. If all of those tv/sponsorship deals were actually lucrative, he would have been given a legit purse, yet he was not. The truth is, this fight was so minimal, HBO wouldn’t even distribute it. The numbers are going to be embarrassing, even with the inflation Arum gives it.

  17. d on November 6th, 2016 3:16 PM

    “Yup how bout the sport of mma”

    Great question…. well, since you ask, the sport is at an all time high. They are breaking revenue records year over year, ppv numbers are through the roof- they are about to break their previous record that was just broken a few months ago, sponsorship is at an all time high, their next tv deal is going to be triple what this past one was and the sky is the limit. So, yeah, how about it? Money, money, money! Unlike boxing. HAHAHAHA!!!

  18. tops E on November 7th, 2016 1:06 AM

    Over the net….media saying rematch is in order hahahaha..

    Facts are facts…foreign corporation sponsoring the said event…several of them …that anta just overtook nike in china sales….now shimming as champion…more expensive tv rights from that country….global truly global….high rollers from asia is t

  19. d on November 7th, 2016 6:31 AM

    Yup facts are facts, Pacquaio’s purse was a fraction of his previous bouts. If all that money was there, he would have had a higher guarantee.

  20. Wil on November 7th, 2016 2:27 PM

    Warrior, well done, excellent journalism work.

  21. d on November 7th, 2016 4:24 PM

    “Pacquiao-Vargas drew a higher attendance in Las Vegas (16,132) than each of the McGregor-Diaz fights (15,539 & 14,898).”

    Who cares? The gate wasn’t higher. Most of those tickets were probably comped.

    “Jesse Vargas ($2.8 million) earned higher pay than Nate Diaz ($2 million & $500K).”

    False. Not even close. Diaz received ppv points and made several more million.

    “Manny Pacquiao ($4 million) earned base pay of Conor McGregor’s two fights combined ($3 million & $1 million).”

    McGregor likely made about 3-4x this in his last fight with ppv points. Pacquaio isn’t going to make much else besides that purse, if it is even accurate.

    By the way, Wikipedia is not a source, although considering that, it makes sense why Wil applauded your journalism effort.

    Here are some interesting other tidbits:

    Chinese superstar Zou Shiming made a whopping 5 thousand dollars on that card. In case you are wondering the lowest paid UFC fighter receives double that in purse money when they lose, 4x that if they win. That includes prelim fighters who are one and done, TUF Finale losers, etc. Including Shiming, there were two main card fighters who only received 5k. Bellator pays better for that on the main cards. Lord knows how poorly the prelimers were paid.

    Pacquaio and Arum have hit such a level of rock bottom, that HBO wouldn’t even distribute their fight. That is the equivalent to an actor going from blockbuster movies to direct to video. Haha.

    Demetrious Johnson’s fights may have done more buys than this fight.

  22. Fight Fan on November 9th, 2016 10:33 AM

    Warrior interesting points. Boxing is still the money sport with the highest ever ppv. Til then, Scoreboard.

  23. d on November 11th, 2016 6:29 AM

    Boxing is still the money sport? HAHAHAHA! The losing money sport maybe.

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