Top Rank’s Bob Arum said the Pacquiao-Bradley 2 fight garnered 750,000-800,0000 pay per view (PPV) buys.
It is down from the 850,000 buys that their first fight generated. Still, it is a marked improvement from the Pacquiao-Rios fight in Macau, which made only 450,000 PPVs.
The last time Manny Pacquiao hit over 1 million PPV was in December 2012, when he was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez. The shocker was coming off the first Bradley debacle which many believed was a travesty of a decision. Pacquiao also lost that one by majority decision in a fight he clearly dominated.
It took Pacquiao almost a year to return to the ring after the Marquez KO loss and his box office appeal undoubtedly also took a hit following the 2012 losses.
With the equally ‘dismal’ 850,000 PPV buys of Floyd Mayweather’s hard-earned victory over Marcos Maidana some two weeks later, one wonders when we will see a fight that will again generate over a million PPVs and whet the appetite of boxing fans.
Over the last five years, only Pacquiao and Mayweather have passed the one million PPV mark, made more interesting by public demand that the two fight each other.
There have been hits and misses in the negotiations that would have brought together the two top fighters of their generation. It would have been great for the legacies of the two fighters. And it would have been good for the business. And more importantly, it would have been a major boost for the a sport which has not seen such rivalry since the days of Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns-Roberto Duran-Marvin Hagler enmities.
Pacquiao and Mayweather, without argument, are a cut above the rest not only in their division but the rest of boxing today. They are rated first and second, not necessarily in that order, the best pound for pound boxers and they fight in the same weight division.
But as time goes by, boxing fans may grow weary over their failure to heed clamor for them to face each other in the ring. The two may be already past their time and prime and already on the decline. But they will still make a good pair and an explosive fight.
This may explain why their PPV numbers against other opponents are down. Down but not yet out.
In the case of Pacquiao, the second Bradley fight may be disappointing in terms of PPV sales. But Arum says they certainly made money, the PPV numbers notwithstanding.
It is easy to explain why the Pacquiao-Bradley 2 fight did not generate as much interest as their first.
While the second fight marked the return of Pacquiao to Las Vegas after more than a year of absence, there was no compelling drama in that anticipated match given that many believed Pacquiao will get his rightful revenge no matter what.
While Bradley went on to win two exciting bouts after being rewarded the decision in their first fight, he really was not in the league of Pacquiao. And nobody really seriously believed he won the first time around.
It is like seeing a penciled Pacquiao win. And win Pacquiao did, as expected. So why bother pay to see a predictable outcome?
But is there a silver lining to the declining interest in the fights of Pacquiao and Mayweather given their stubborn refusal to fight each other?
They may see the light of day. Both are agreed that their boxing years are coming to an end. And if they continue to register fewer PPVs by fighting other opponents, they may be compelled to finally agree to fight each other. Not only for the sake of the sport. Not only for their own legacies. But to also make sure they have plenty to spare as they walk into the sunset.