Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley 3 PPV: 8 reasons why it may be headed for disastrous returnsWritten by Leroy Cleveland
No one seems to be talking about the third meeting between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley which will take place April 9.
This is looking bad. Really bad.
No wonder HBO, at least for the time being, plans to host many of the boxing events on a pay-per-view basis. Manny has a $20 million guarantee for Saturday night and HBO will likely take a big hit.
In the Internet forums and social media, there's been more chatter about the non-title bout between Andre Ward and Sullivan Barrera which takes place Saturday. Moreover, we are seeing buzz about the rematch between Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury as well as the upcoming middleweight title fight between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan.
Somehow, Manny Pacquiao, one of the most popular athletes on earth in the last 10 years, seems to be the forgotten man. At least in terms of boxing.
Still a top 3 pound-for-pound fighter and boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao's stock has dropped tremendously.
What the heck happened?
1. Mayweather vs Pacquiao fallout - To say it wasn't Ali vs Frazier would be understatement. As the biggest fight in boxing history, it may have been the sport's most disappointing moment. Floyd fought too defensively to entertain the masses and Manny's shoulder was compromised. Even worse, PacMan told the media he fought hurt, leaving many believing they were ripped off.
Both fighters' stock fell as well as the sport's.
2. Floyd's retirement - Mayweather vs Pacquiao was among the biggest rivalries is sports history. For so long, one was mentioned in tandem with another. In some ways, they were attached at the hip, figuratively-speaking.
Manny and Floyd made each other more interesting. But when Floyd retired, Manny became less relevant to the casual fan. Had Manny left boxing first, Floyd would have been less intriguing.
It's like Lakers vs Celtics. Both teams are far more interesting when those franchises represent the best teams in the NBA.
3. Pacquiao vs Bradley 1 and 2 - In the eyes of most, PacMan won their first two meetings. Few are taking into account Tim's reputation as an elite fighter and the entertainment value of their previous bouts. Instead, most insist the result of Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 is not in doubt.
4. Tim Bradley - One of the top 3 fighters in the world, Tim has yet to endear himself to casual fans. Unlike Tyson Fury, Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Floyd Mayweather and Amir Khan, folks simply aren't interested in Brads at this moment.And Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter would do marginally better, only because Manny has yet to face them. Nonetheless, those bouts would tank as well.
The only opponents who could have seemingly salvaged Pacquaio's next fight, from a PPV and interest level perspective, would have been Khan, Canelo, Juan Manuel Marquez or Adrien Broner.
... Possibly, but not likely, Terence Crawford.
5. Lose/Layoff - Remember what happened when PacMan lost to Marquez in December 2012? He took nearly a year off and his return bout with Brandon Rios, a quality, charismatic opponent, failed to energize casual fans. Out of sight, out of mind. PacMan's drop in stock after the loss was furthered by his inactivity.
6. Boxing is moving on - If there's a bright side to the presumed tanking of Pacquiao vs Bradley 3, it's this one. Other fighters and match-ups are gaining in popularity while interest in Floyd and Manny has dipped considerably. Fans are now discussing Klitschko vs Fury 2, Ward vs Sergey Kovalev, Canelo vs Khan and Gennady Golovkin, and Deontay Wilder vs Alexander Povetkin.
And while Floyd is still getting mass coverage from mainstream outlets, it's very TMZish. He's more of a celebrity gossip item these days, like Kim Kardashian.
7. Key Indicators - Mayweather's September fight with Andre Berto bombed, only generating between 400K and 550K PPV buys. Moreover, Pacquiao's fight with Chris Algieri, prior to Mayweather vs Pacquiao, generated an anemic 300K buys. Bradley is a stronger opponent than Algieri and Berto but doesn't resonate with casual fans.
Indications say Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 might resemble the Algieri fight.
8. Manny's gay comments - Pacquiao's very raw comments about gays is probably the least responsible for the presumed lack of interest in April's fight. That stated, it probably didn't help. It was an unwise choice of words and some will boycott Manny going forward because of it. Moreover, the loss of sponsors, like Nike, doesn't help Manny's cause. Companies like Nike lend credibility to athletes and events.
If Pacquiao starches Tim Bradley next month, his place in boxing as a top draw would still be solid. However, unlike before, Pacquiao would need a big name opponent, such as Canelo, Khan or Marquez in order to generate over 800,000 PPVs buys and high interest outside the boxing community.
Let's hope Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 exceeds expectations. Manny and Tim deserve it...
And boxing deserves it.