Pacquiao, Arum Think Strong PPV Numbers Could Return With Bradley Bout
When Manny Pacquiao faces Timothy Bradley on Saturday night for the WBO Welterweight title, he will be "fighting for his place in boxing's hierarchy of pay-per-view franchises," according to Steve Kim of SPORTS ON EARTH. After taking most of last year off, Pacquiao "returned to the ring in late November against the carefully selected Brandon Rios." But after "years of incredibly robust sales," the Pacquiao-Rios fight -- "which took place in a far-flung casino in Asia -- did roughly half of Pacquiao's usual numbers." Pacquiao said, "It was disappointing, but you know, most of that I attribute to the fact that we had three writers over there and we didn't have ESPN there." Top Rank Chair Bob Arum -- the "consummate promoter -- looks ahead to this weekend hoping for strong numbers." Arum said, "I look at the first Pacquiao-Bradley fight [in '12], where we did a little less, a shade less than 900,000 and I remember how we got murdered in that seventh game [of the Heat-Celtics Eastern Conference finals] ... also we lost all that impetus on ESPN because they were plugging the game that they had coming on their own network. And still we did over 900 (thousand) and nobody really knew Bradley that well. So I think now, we have a real good shot to do old-time numbers, like a million-one, million-two." Industry observers "believe anything above 700,000 pay-per-view sales would be a strong number, an indicator Pacquiao still retains much of his popularity, and a demonstration of his drawing power that would boost his leverage in negotiating with future foes." For Top Rank, it would be "rock-solid evidence it still promotes one of the most marketable boxers in the sport." For HBO, it would mean that after Floyd Mayweather's "defection last year, they still have a viable and lucrative pay-per-view entity." Pacquiao "isn't just fighting Bradley," he is "fighting for his market value." Arum: "That's completely accurate" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 4/8).
TOP OF THE HEAP: YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Iole noted Pacquiao on Saturday "will tie Oscar De La Hoya for the most pay-per-view appearances ever and will become only the second fighter ever" to generate a minimum of $700M in PPV revenue. He has become one of the "five greatest figures in pay-per-view history," along with De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield, Mayweather and Mike Tyson. Going into Saturday's bout, he is "ranked fifth all-time with 12.2 million pay-per-view sales and is third all-time" with $661M in PPV revenue. With 890,000 buys, the "same as he did for his controversial first match with Bradley in 2012, Pacquiao will move to third in total sales with 12.8 million buys and will move into second past De La Hoya and behind only Mayweather" with $700M in PPV revenues (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/8).