By Allan Fox: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is considering self-distributing the November 5th fight between his two fighters Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas due to HBO choosing not to televise it for that date. HBO wants to televise the Pacquiao-Vargas fight on October 29, along with the Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury fight.
By putting those two fights together in one package, it makes for a better pay-per-view event. HBO doesn’t want to televise two PPV events in the same month apparently. They have the November 19 fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev that will be televised on HBO PPV.
Pacquiao, 37, is getting up there in age, and the fight that Arum wants to put on for November 5 isn’t a great one. Putting Pacquiao in with Jessie Vargas instead of a popular fighter seems like a really bad idea for a pay-per-view bout. But it’s Arum’s fighters in his Top Rank stable, and it’s his money.
If wants to match Pacquiao against his own non-popular fighters like Vargas on PPV, it’s his choice. Arum might have been better in picking the best possible fighter for Manny, period. Of course, that would likely mean money out of Arums own pocket because he would have to pay a good fighter to get one to agree to fight Pacquiao.
It’s unclear how much money Vargas is getting for the Pacquiao fight, but it’s likely that it’s less than one of the bigger names like Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman or Adrien Broner would want for the fight. They would no doubt want top dollar to fight Pacquiao.
“We have an interest in distributing it ourselves. Why pay a distributor 7.5% if I don’t have to?” Arum said to the latimes.com. “There’s people out there who know how to distribute a pay-per-view. How many people does it take? We could do it, and it’s definitely one of the options.”
It’s unclear why Arum won’t put the Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight on HBO PPV on October 29. We’re only talking about a week’s difference. Pacquiao should be able to take a fight at that time as well, since he would otherwise be in training camp getting ready for his final week for the November 5 fight.
For some reason, Arum doesn’t want the Pacquiao-Vargas fight to take place on October 29, and it’s hard to see why. It makes sense that if HBO can’t or won’t televise the Pacquiao fight on November 5, then moving it to October 29 seems like a reasonable thing to do. With the fight packaged with the Klitschko vs. Fury rematch, it would likely bring in more PPV buys.
Arum is going to contact Showtime to see whether there’s a possibility to televise the fight on that network. He also could show it on ESPN PPV.
“Don’t they understand his schedule is based on the [Philippine] Senate?” Arum asked. “And somebody should remind [HBO] how many Philippine American subscribers they have – who aren’t going to take kindly to this.”
Pacquiao is a pretty powerful person in the Philippines. He should be able to throw his weight around to get off from his senate job a week earlier to fight on October 29. If he’s going to be in training camp during that week anyway, I don’t see why Pacquiao can’t fight on October 29.
If Arum can get the Pacquiao-Vargas fight televised on Showtime, then it might do alright PPV numbers. I can see the fight bringing in 200,000 PPV buys, maybe a little less. It’s a horrible fight, so you can’t expect more than 200,000 PPV buys tops in my opinion.
Arum can self-distribute the Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight if he wants, but I’m not sure how successful the fight will be on PPV. It’s not a great fight judging by the lack of interest from boxing fans on the internet. If you thought Pacquiao’s last fight against Tim Bradley was a bad one, Pacquiao-Vargas is step below that. It’s too bad that Pacquiao can’t be matched up with more interesting fighters so that fans can get excited about seeing him fight like they used to. Arum did a great job of putting Pacquiao with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year, but he whiffed badly by going backwards in time to match Pacquiao against Bradley again. That match-up was officially dead after their rematch in 2014. There was no reason to put them back in with each other yet again.