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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



ARUM EYES ANOTHER MANNY TIFF IN MACAU

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
30 Apr 2014



LOS ANGELES – With China claiming 20 percent of the world’s population, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is optimistic of a burgeoning pay-per-view market in the Mainland and will likely bring back WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao to Macau this year, possibly to engage Juan Manuel Marquez in another chapter in their unfolding quintology.

Marquez is booked to battle Mike Alvarado on May 17 here and will likely advance to meet Pacquiao if he wins. The 40-year-old Mexican wasn’t impressive and looked a step slow in losing to Timothy Bradley last October but is a more marketable opponent for Pacquiao than Alvarado. If Arum brings a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez duel to Macau, he will lose the large Mexican audience that is a staple in Las Vegas but could make it up with a huge Filipino turnout and a pay-per-view breakthrough in China.
“With time, Arum envisions a $5 to $6 PPV fee (in China),” wrote Tim Struby in The ESPN Magazine. “That’s paltry stateside (where the PPV fee is $50-70) but 20 million buys (less than 2% of the Chinese population) would mean $100 Million in revenue.” If China delivers and the North American market kicks in at least 700,000 buys, the pay-per-view gross could go over $150 Million – the record set by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Canelo Alvarez on 2.2 million hits last year.

Arum said he plans to stage a fight card once a quarter in Macau. Pacquiao may be scheduled in the last quarter of the year. On May 31, Arum will unveil a triple world championship show with WBA featherweight titlist Simpiwe Vetyeka staking his throne against Filipino challenger Nonito Donaire, Jr. in the mainer. On July 19, Arum will return to Macau with WBA/WBO superbantamweight king Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba defending his two belts against a to-be-determined opponent, former two-division world champion Brian Viloria continuing his march back to title contention and Chinese star Zou Shiming solidifying his position as the Mainland’s most popular fighter.

“We have to establish a fan base around Zou,” said Arum, referring to the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur champion. “Then, hopefully, bring Manny back. I’m committed to China now as well as Vegas.”

Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal quoted Arum as saying “there’s a good chance Pacquiao’s next fight will be in Macau.” Arum said, “they (Macau) want to bring Manny back but we’ll sit down and talk to Manny and see what he wants to do.”

Boxing analyst Max Kellerman said with Macau’s casino revenues expected to reach $77 Billion in three years, it wouldn’t be surprising to find even Mayweather testing the Chinese waters. “There’s no question there’s an untapped market and a real, growing consumer interest,” said Kellerman quoted by Struby. “Could I see Americans like Mayweather or Bradley fighting in Macau? Absolutely. Stack the money high enough and it will be too much for anyone to turn down.”

Arum was displeased with the way MGM Grand Garden downplayed Pacquiao’s recent fight against Bradley to favor drumbeating the Mayweather fight against Marcos Maidana this weekend. Pacquiao has figured in 11 fights at the venue but has also fought at Mandalay Bay thrice and Thomas and Mack Center twice in Las Vegas so it’s not as if Arum is tied down to the MGM Grand group. Arum once said he would set up a makeshift ring in an open parking lot in Las Vegas to accommodate over 50,000 fans in the event of a Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown. But with Macau looming as Asia’s version of Fight Town, Arum might just junk Las Vegas all together to stake his future in China.

Photo: Pacquiao speaks at the Venetian in Macau during the runup of his fight with Brandon Rios in November last year. Photo by Dong Secuya.


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