Arum says Pacquiao wants to fight for world title
By Chris Williams: According to promoter Bob Arum, Manny Pacquiao wants to fight for a world title straightaway when he returns to the ring on November 5 this year. Arum says that Pacquiao won’t have a lot of time to train for the fight due to him being busy with his senate responsibilities in the Philippines, where he holds the position as a senator.
Arum says he’s not sure which division Pacquiao will be electing to fight in for a world title. All the 84-year-old Arum knows is it’ll be light welterweight or welterweight. What Arum does seem to know is that it’s likely going to be against one of his Top Rank stable fighters in Terence Crawford, Viktor Postol or Jessie Vargas.
“He wants to fight for a world title,” said Arum about Pacquiao. “He wants to be a champion. Can he get down to 140 where he’s physically strong? Can he get down to 140 and be strong to fight to fight a guy like Crawford or Postol or does he say no and goes to 147 to fight for a welterweight title; in which case, a guy like Jessie Vargas would be another for him to fight. There’s no leading candidate! I just told you about the weight situation. Manny is going to have to make the weight,” said Arum.
Arum also said that Pacquiao is no longer guaranteed $20 million for his fights. He says that figure has gone down. Just how low is unknown. Pacquiao can still make good money with the pay-per-view upside, but that would require for him to fight a big name and the guys that Arum has been mentioning over and over from his Top Rank stable are not guys that will likely bring in many PPV buys.
Pacquiao would probably be shooting himself in the foot if he faces any of those guys instead of insisting that Arum deal with fighters outside of his Top Rank stable. There’s nothing wrong with Crawford, Postol and Vargas as fighters, but the fact remains, they’re not big stars in the sport.
Pacquiao won’t likely bring in even the numbers he had for his last fight against Tim Bradley last April. That fight is said to have brought in around 300,000 buys. That’s a dramatic departure from the days when Pacquiao was able to bring in over 1 million buys on a routine basis for his fights.
You can say that the market for boxing fights on PPV have dried up since the disappointment from the Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight last year. But the drop off is likely the result of years of weak match-making done for Pacquiao, as well the fact that he no longer knocks guys out.
Fans want to see knockouts, and Pacquiao hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2009. When fans are forced to sit back and watch Pacquiao go the full 12 round distance against guys like Chris Algieri, Tim Bradley, and Brandon Rios. Those fights are just bad value for the money. You can argue that Arum should have never made those fights. Obviously, putting Pacquiao in with Rios and Bradley, both Top Rank fighters, made sense for Arum, but it didn’t help Pacquiao. He should have been fighting bigger names outside of Arum’s stable of non-stars.
“Manny understands that the time when we guaranteed him $20 million for a fight, because it was always there, is no longer the case,” said Arum to Undisputed Champion Network. “I think there’s tremendous interest in Manny Pacquiao in watching him perform. Whether it’s the same before the Mayweather fight is hard to tell. We’ll have to see. But I’m going to get Manny the best possible opponent available for his fight on November 5, and we’ll take it from there,” said Arum.
If the best possible opponent for Pacquiao is Vargas, Crawford or Postol, then I don’t see that as a good thing for him. Pacquiao would probably be far better off giving Adrien Broner or Danny Garcia the money they want in order to fight one of them rather than fight Crawford, Vargas or Postol. Pacquiao should be looking to fight Keith Thurman or Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. I think the sole reason for Pacquiao;s poor PPV numbers recently is because of the tired match-making that’s being done for him. You can’t expect for Pacquiao to bring in a lot of PPV buys when he’s fighting guys like Bradley, Algieri, Rios and the three Top Rank fighters that Arum is talking about wanting to match him against for his November 5.