The MGM Grand will take the centre stage of combat sports on January 19th, when Senator Manny Pacquiao faces off with Adrien Broner in a bout that will answer many questions about the two men in the ring.
A question that has lingered around Senator Manny Pacquiao is not really whether he has lost a step, but how many steps has he lost? Since his HBO debut in 2001 Manny Pacquiao has been at the top of every division he has competed in and has developed in to one of the very best of his generation.
Pacquiao has generated hundreds of millions, if not billions, for boxing and has drawn countless eyes to the ring as an ambassador for the sport. While these accomplishments will surely land him in the Hall of Fame, there is a reason boxing is called the “cruellest of sports”. In a contest where the goal is to do damage to your opponents, losing a step and decline is usually concurrent with dire physical consequences.
For Manny, these consequences came to pass on December 8, 2012, when he was knocked out for the first time since 1999. Jim Lampley and Roy Jones Jr. contemplated, on-air, if that would be the final fight in Pacquiao’s career. Since the fourth bout against Marquez, Pacquiao has accrued a 6-2 record with those losses coming by way of decisions against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Jeff Horn in Australia.
As one half of the highest selling fight of all time, Manny Pacquiao has created a respectable career arc after the loss to Marquez, and if the bout on January 19th goes in Pacquiao’s favour, there may be an even bigger crescendo in regards to public interest for a Mayweather rematch.
There are undoubtedly millions on the table for his bout against Broner, but a potential superfight rematch with the added storyline of “He learned how to beat Mayweather’s style” puts hundreds of millions on the line if victorious. From a boxing purist’s standpoint, this statement may seem ludicrous; as we’ve seen years of fighters lose a rematch in a more convincing fashion after having “figured out” their opponent by the end of the first match.
From a public perception standpoint this fight may struggle to reach the same numbers as the first go around, but the first was sold at about a $100 price point. If a rematch were to happen, selling it at the regular $60/65 may increase the potential buys.
For a current comparison, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury faced off in the first Heavyweight Championship pay-per-view in America in years and they needed only 250,000 buys to break even at $75 a buy. At a lower price, the amount needed to break even would be higher and marketing and publicity would surely be costly as well.
A high estimate for a Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch to break even can be 500,000, which is completely do-able as the first fight sold almost 10 times that. A Mayweather rematch is big money, but to set that stage Manny Pacquiao needs to not only beat Adrien Broner, he needs to beat Adrien Broner up.
Broner, who uses a similar style to Mayweather, is a 4 division champion who carries his power all the way to the last round of a fight. He uses a philly shell-like defense with opportunistic shoulder-roll counters like Floyd, but is more of a puncher who overwhelms his opponents with his speed and power when at his best. Mayweather Jr’s first instincts are defensive, while Broner’s are offensive, which leads to the differences in style, even if they are aesthetically similar. Manny Pacquiao should look good against an opponent like Broner and set up the final phase of his career.
(By Julian-Ray Fortaleza)