Bradley and Rios possibilities for Pacquiao’s September fight
By Chris Williams: If Top Rank promoter Bob Arum doesn’t lure the soon to be 40-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez into fighting Manny Pacquiao this September, the choices for Pacquiao’s opponent for that month will almost surely be either WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley or former WBA World lightweight champion Brandon Rios.
Both Rios and Bradley are part of Arum’s Top Rank stable and he’s already mentioned both as opponents that he wants to put in with Pacquiao. Arum was hoping to match Bradley with Pacquiao in early 2014 after a fifth fight between Marquez and Pacquiao, but Marquez doesn’t feel the need to fight Pacquiao a fifth time after knocking him out cold last December.
Arum reportedly thinks he can still get Marquez to agree to take the fight with Pacquiao in September, but I seriously doubt if unless he bumps up Marquez’s pay considerably. Last time they fought, Pacquiao received over $20 million for the fight, whereas Marquez received less than $10 million.
In a fifth fight, there could be more revenue because boxing fans want to see if Marquez can knock Pacquiao out cold again, and Pacquiao’s fans want to see him avenge his defeat. It might take a 50-50 deal for Arum to lure Marquez into signing for the fight, and I don’t think Arum will do that because it would mean that money would have to be subtracted from Pacquiao’s normally huge purse for the fight.
If it’s a 50-50 deal, the only way Pacquiao will be able to still make $20 million+ is if the fight brings in huge PPV numbers, and I don’t think it’s going to be much higher than it was the last two times.
If anything, we might see the numbers going downward because that’s what happened last time they fought. Some boxing fans, the casual ones, aren’t quite as excited about fight as they were back in November 2011 when the PPV totals were 1.4 million buys.
Arum probably won’t let Pacquiao fight the hard hitting Rios in September because there would be too much danger of Pacquiao getting knocked out in that fight. I see Arum taking it easy by letting Pacquiao fight the soft hitting Bradley in September, and if Pacquiao wins that one – or even if he doesn’t win – Arum will then keep it in house and put Pacquiao in with Rios in early 2014.