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No box-office for Macau fight

Manny Pacquiao

by Nick Giongco

Bringing his act outside the US seems to be not a good idea.

Manny Pacquiao’s fight with Brandon Rios at The Venetian in Macau last month didn’t bring massive pay-per-view numbers as what had been expected as it only sold 500,000 buys, a figure that is nowhere near the Filipino fighter’s usual numbers.

Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said yesterday that while Macau lived up to its promise, the change of location hurt Pacquiao’s chances of gaining more subscribers.

The media outlets that regularly sent reporters and photographers to Pacquiao’s fights in the US were notably absent although The New York Times was in Macau and so was Yahoo Sports. But the Los Angeles Times and ESPN–perennial presence at ringside–were not represented, noted Arum.

Pacquiao has fought almost exclusively in Las Vegas the last 12 years and his fights with Oscar Dela Hoya (1.25 million), Miguel Cotto (1.25 million), Ricky Hatton (900,000), Shane Mosley (1.340 million), Tim Bradley (700,000) and Juan Manuel Marquez (1.4 million, third fight and 1.15 million, fourth fight) punched huge PPV numbers. Even when Pacquiao brought his act outside Sin City, Pacquiao also drew major buys when he showcased his wares in Dallas in 2010 against Antonio Margarito (1.150 million) and Joshua Clottey (700,000).

Still, Arum and Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz were not utterly disappointed with the half a million subscriptions, saying they knew the fight being held outside the US would affect the promotion and eventually the PPV numbers.

Arum said The Venetian covered some of the expenses that were expected to be lost in putting up the fight in the former Portuguese colony that has now become a gambling haven whose revenue is a lot bigger than that in Las Vegas.

“The deal that was structured for us made up for that (low PPV numbers),” said Arum from New York, noting that while there was no PPV in China, the TV ratings was extremely high.

Not counting the fact that Rios was an overwhelming underdog and not a marquee name, the half-a-million buys appear to be decent. But Arum is poised to stage a mighty comeback when Pacquiao makes his ring return at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12.

No opponent has been picked although Bradley and Marquez are on the list and even Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia, a one-time sparring partner of Pacquiao, is being seriously considered.

Arum said the heavy-handed Provodnikov, also being trained by Freddie Roach, wants to face Pacquiao. Contacted by the Bulletin yesterday, Bradley’s manager Cameron Dunkin is unsure what’s down the road for his fighter.

“We still don’t know what’s next,” said Dunkin, seemingly sounding cold on the idea of Pacquiao facing Bradley in a rematch. Marquez, meanwhile, has yet to issue an official statement about his future especially after his defeat to Bradley last October although he said a few weeks ago that he is not interested in meeting Pacquiao a fifth time.

Arum said the identity of Pacquiao’s next rival will be known within the month.

Pacquiao, who turns 35 on Dec. 17, was guaranteed $18 million in his lopsided win over Rios.