Manny Pacquiao has been a huge pay-per-view and gate attraction since turning into a major star in the U.S with his explosive 8th round stoppage win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2008. However, Pacquiao has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights, and he’s coming off of a fight against Brandon Rios from last November in which draw a meager 475,000 PPV buys. For a fighter used to routinely bringing in over 1 million buys for his fights this has got to be a concern for Pacquiao and for his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.
Arum has been on damage control as of late by blaming the poor PPV numbers on him making the decision to stage the fight in Macao, China rather than the U.S. But it’s very difficult to imagine fans being anymore interested in seeing a Pacquiao-Rios fight in the U.S than they were when it was staged in China.
Honestly, it makes no difference where the fight is staged when we’re talking about PPV numbers, because the fight was advertised on HBO 24/7 like all of Pacquiao’s PPV fights, and it was shown at regular time in the evening hours in the U.S. It wasn’t as if boxing fans had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to watch the fight on HBO or anything.
The huge drop off from the 1.3 million PPV buys that Pacquiao got for his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in December of 2012 to 475,000 for Pacquiao’s fight against Rios is something that you must question as to what’s happening. Are boxing fans losing interest in Pacquiao’s fights now that he’s been viciously knocked out by Marquez and has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights or is this a situation like Arum says where fans weren’t as interested in the Rios-Pacquiao fight due to it being staged outside of the U.S? I think what Arum is saying is a bunch of baloney and I don’t buy that excuse at all in trying to figure out why Pacquiao’s drawing power has gone downhill. I believe his losses has hurt him with boxing fans, because many fans aren’t interested in paying big money to see someone fight if they don’t feel that this person is a winner. We saw former stars like Evander Holyfield’s PPV numbers drop once he started losing.
It would make sense that Pacquiao would have the same problems. But another thing that is likely contributing to Pacquiao’s diminishing PPV numbers if the lack of interesting opposition to match him against. Since Arum mainly focuses on putting Pacquiao in with his Top Rank stable of fighters, this dramatically limits the amount of interesting opponents that Pacquiao faces. Arum, as good of a promoter as he is, doesn’t have a deep stable of big name fighters in the 140-147 lb. area. Sure, he’s got a lot of fighters, but not the kind that the boxing public really care about. For example, we saw Arum match Pacquiao against Joshua Clottey and Rios. Anyone could have told you ahead of time that fans wouldn’t be interested in seeing Pacquiao fight those guys. For Pacquiao’s next fight on April 12th, Arum has offered Pacquiao a rematch against Tim Bradley or a fight with Ruslan Provodnikov. Neither of those options are going to excite boxing fans, and you can bet that Pacquiao will bring in little more than 500,000 PPV buys for a fight against one of those guys.
It may be that the only way Pacquiao can pump back up his PPV numbers is for him to leave Top Rank and go with either a neutral promoter like Dibella Entertainment or sign with Golden Boy Promotions so that Pacquiao can get fights against the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.