The Fighting Pride of Philippines’ potentially final bout inside the squared circle bombs at the box office.
Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision win over Timothy Bradley Jr., the Filipino’s 66th professional fight, generated “only” 400,000 to 500,000 pay per view buys according to reports. This low number for the supposed-farewell bout of Pacquiao was “terrible” and “bad business” according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
To put things into perspective, it would cost a customer $60 to watch the PPV on standard definition and $70 to watch it on Hi-Def. The main event’s guaranteed purse alone was $24M with Pacquiao earning a handsome $20M check while Desert Storm banked in $4M. Marketing the bout, salary for the undercard fighters and the crew, among others figure in the fight card’s overheads. So pessimistically, at 400,000 buys – an optimistic outlook according to industry experts -generates $24M, a huge loss for the promotion.
In an interview by Arum with ESPN’s Dan Rafael, a number of variables factored in that resulted to this. First was the homophobic slurs Pacquiao made weeks prior to the bout. Another factor was the fatigue fight fans felt after Pacquiao’s superfight with fellow superstar Floyd “Money” Mayweather that was priced at $100 to watch on PPV.
“Certainly the pushback from Manny’s gay remarks killed us,” Arum said. “It hurt us a lot. But I think it was also less a reaction to the match than a reaction to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. It was a reaction like Mayweather got. Mayweather also got punished.”
Mayweather’s final bout in the squared circle against Andre Berto generated only 400,000 buys as well according to reports.
With two of the biggest boxing superstars of the past decade failing to produce huge numbers in their swansongs, the next generation of boxing’s elite need to work double-time to keep the sport afloat.