Backlash, fatigue hurt Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view sales
Manny Pacquiao’s April 9 victory over Timothy Bradley generated just “a hair over” 400,000 pay-per-view buys on HBO, promoter Bob Arum said Monday.
The sluggish figure from an impressive showing by Pacquiao, in which he knocked down Bradley twice and won a unanimous decision with 116-110 scores on all three judges’ scorecards, were likely tied to multifaceted backlash.
First, Pacquiao generated massive criticism in the U.S. from a February Philippines television interview in which he said people who engage in same-sex relations are “worse than animals.”
Arum said the fallout from that included a Disney decision stopping Pacquiao from repeating his usual pre-fight appearances on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
“That certainly didn’t help,” Arum said of the comments the boxer sought to clarify as out-of-context remarks once he arrived in Hollywood to train in March. “A lot of it was that.”
Secondly, the backlash over Pacquiao’s uncharacteristic performance in his greatly anticipated May 2015 loss decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. was in play.
In the fourth round versus Mayweather, Pacquiao aggravated a shoulder injury he suffered in training before the bout, triggering criticism over why he didn’t postpone the bout that took six years to make.
Mayweather’s final bout against Andre Berto in September also had just 400,000 buys.
“What happened to Floyd happened to Manny,” Arum said after fight fans generated more than $400 million in pay-per-view receipts for that record-setting event.
Also, there was fatigue over a third meeting with Bradley after two strong prior Pacquiao showings.
“We sold it as a new Bradley,” under new trainer Teddy Atlas, Arum said. “And it was the best of the three fights.”
Last week, the Nevada State Athletic Commission reported ticket sales at MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Pacquiao-Bradley III were $6,411,584, a sharp drop from the $7,865,100 their second fight in 2014 generated and the $8,963,180 their first meeting on June 9, 2012, drew.
The only Pacquiao fight in recent memory with worse pay-per-view sales was his November 2014 dominating victory over little-known Chris Algieri in Macau, China, which posted sales of less than 400,000, according to Arum.
Other than that, Pacquiao failed to draw 400,000 buys only before his 2008 breakout victory over Oscar De La Hoya. In his March 2008 victory over Juan Manuel Marquez — the second of their four meetings — Pacquiao’s ticket sales at Mandalay Bay were $3,347,900, according to the Nevada commission.
Following the April 9 Bradley victory, Pacquiao said he was joining Mayweather, 39, in retirement. Pacquiao, 37, is seeking a seat in the Philippines Senate, with the election on May 9.
Coachella Valley’s Bradley has told Arum he’s taking a two-month hiatus, then he will return to discuss his future plans.
Arum wasn’t bothered Monday by thoughts of what this means for Pacquiao.
“It’s a non-issue. He’s retired,” Arum said. “I assume he wins the Senate seat and then he won’t fight again, so it’s irrelevant.”