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Pacquiao to start next phase of training for Bradley rematch in U.S

Manny Pacquiao Timothy Bradley(Photo credit: Chris Farina/Top Rank) By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO’s) arrived in the United States on Monday, and he’ll be starting the 2nd part phase of his training at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles, California to get ready for his rematch against WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO’s) for their fight on April 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Like always, Pacquiao will be assisted by his long-time trainer Freddie Roach and his assistant coach Buboy Fernandez.

The rematch will be televised on HBO pay-per-view, and it’s going to be really interesting to see how many fans are willing to purchase the fight. Pacquiao’s last PPV bout against Brandon Rios brought in disappointing PPV numbers with only 475,000 buys. That was by far the lowest total that Pacquiao has had in many years. His promoter Bob Arum blames it on the fight taking place outside of the United States in Macao, China rather than in Las Vegas. However, that doesn’t make much sense when you realize that the fight was televised at the normal time slot in the U.S, and it had the same old HBO 24/7 episodes as all of Pacquiao’s other fights.

The reality is more likely that fans either hated the idea of paying to see Pacquiao fighting a guy coming off of a loss like Rios or the fans are starting to lose interest in paying to see Pacquiao’s fights given his lack of interesting fights since his big catch-weight bout against Miguel Cotto in 2009. There’s only so many times that fans can see Pacquiao fight Juan Manuel Marquez before they lose interest in altogether. Speaking of Marquez, he’s set to face the winner of the Pacquiao-Bradley II fight.

If Pacquiao wins, he’ll be facing Marquez for the 5th time. It’s pretty incredible that there would be that many fights between two fighters, but it kind of shows you the model for making fights that Arum has. He’s found one guy that guarantees a high number of PPV buys, so he just keeps matching him up against Pacquiao over and over again. The diehard fans love it, while fans that are interested in seeing different match-ups, have drifted away.

If Pacquiao loses the fight to Bradley next month, it’s going to be tougher for Arum to justify asking fans to pay to see Pacquiao fight. Right now, he’s lost 2 out of his last 3 fights. If he gets beaten by Bradley, that’ll be 3 losses in his last 4 fights. How can you ask fans to pay to see someone fight with that kind of track record? Without a huge discount on Pacquiao’s fights, I can see his PPV numbers nosed diving to levels that he’s not seen since he first started out as a PPV fighter. That’s why his fight against Bradley is so important. Pacquiao has got to win it, and look good in doing so.

Arum needs to start looking to sign so newer talent to match Pacquiao up against, because Marquez will probably walk away from the sport after Pacquiao fights him a 5th time later this year. Arum can’t keep matching Pacquiao up against Bradley or Brandon Rios without turning off fans. The Bradley fight didn’t bring in big numbers when Pacquiao fought him in 2012, and it wasn’t a great fight.

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