Top Rank’s Bob Arum arrived in the country with so much hope that a November 10 opponent for 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao would already be named.
Instead, he quietly slipped out of the country after a short and hurried visit to General Santos City without getting his boxing ward to agree to the three possible boxers he would like Pacquiao to fight next. More ominous is the possible postponement of the fight to early December with still no opponent named.
Arum has not stated the reason behind his failure to get Pacquiao’s nod. The camp of the boxing superstar is also unusually silent with only Michael Koncz providing some tidbits but uncorroborated statements.
There can only be plausible explanations. Unless Pacquiao himself announces his next foe, the air will be filled with speculation.
But worth pondering is the recent article from Manila Bulletin’s Nick Gionco which said the Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight only generated some 700,000 pay per view buys.
If true, it would be the fewest PPVs for a Pacquiao fight since his split decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez in their 2008 second fight.
Pacquiao was said to have been guaranteed US$26m for the Bradley fight. The ‘dismal’ PPV sales were a disappointment for Arum who said immediately after the fight that the Filipino boxing icon may have to agree to a lesser guaranteed purse if he will take Bradley in a rematch.
A fourth fight with Marquez will not guarantee Pacquiao will again break the 1 million PPV mark – or a Miguel Cotto rematch.
In short, unless it is a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight Arum may not be sure if the next Pacquiao fight will be another unqualified success.
This may have ticked off Pacquiao, who still believes he deserves at least a US$20 million guaranteed fight – no questions asked.
While Pacquiao admits his boxing days are coming to an end, he has not committed to retire any time soon. In fact, he may well be boxing until 2016 when he is already qualified to run for a Philippine Senate seat.
Ten years ago, a former cabinet secretary of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said, while aboard his 12-seater private jet, that he was reportedly offered a Senate win by a Commission on Election insider for a cool US$4 million (at Php50 a dollar exchange rate) upfront fee. Counting the resources and logistics Pacquiao needs to win a senate seat in 2016, he will have to spend no less than another US$20 million for credible and winnable campaign. That means the world boxing icon will have to save at least US$5 million in each of a minimum of five fights between now and 2016. A US$10 million guaranteed purse each fight hence, will not give Pacquiao enough savings to have a good shot at making it to the Philippine Senate. Moreso if he begins to decline as a top flight and elite fighter. In the business where sometimes you can only be as good as your last knockout victory, a marked slippage in his skills, hunger and commitment will undoubtedly affect his marketability as a prize fighter. And lucrative endorsement deals will also dry up fast every time there is a drop in the guaranteed purse of Pacquiao.
It is therefore not just mere coincidence that Pacquiao changed his mind about which political position he will be running for in 2013. In July last year, he announced he is trading places with outgoing Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez. Only few weeks ago, he said he is instead seeking re-election, citing difficulties and complications that may arise if he continues to box while at the same time serving as governor.
Pacquiao undoubtedly was also disappointed about his controversial loss to Bradley, which has somehow affected his enthusiasm for boxing.
Only Pacquiao, of course, knows how deep that dissatisfaction is. But Arum knows his ward isn’t at all pleased with the Bradley fiasco and also isn’t satisfied with a pay slip cut.