Some said promoter Bob Arum was taking an immense risk, financially and from a publicity perspective, by bringing Manny Pacquiao's Nov. 23 fight against Brandon Rios to Macau. Certain schools of thought said the pay-per-view would tank and the U.S. press wouldn't hype the bout as much because it would be an "out of sight, out of mind" scenario.
But Arum pronounced the event and the gamble (if it could be called that) a success as we talked about the pay-per-view buy numbers on Wednesday at a news conference to hype Arum's Saturday card in Atlantic City. The Pacquiao-Rios fight generated between 500,000 and 600,000 buys, he said. But that doesn't discourage him because the people who staged the event in Macau made up the difference in what was lost by not staging the event in Las Vegas.
"It was a drop-off from what we would have done, but it was OK," he said. "We knew it wouldn't do the same [as a fight held in the U.S.]. But we got so much more money to compensate, out of Asia, that it didn't matter. We figured we wouldn't do anywhere close to a million [PPV buys], so they compensated us for our loss. We made a lot of money."
Pacquiao's bout with Oscar De La Hoya had 1.25 million, and there were around a million for fights with Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. His fights with Shane Molsey and Juan Manuel Marquez (their third tangle) each did about 1.3 million. Pacman-Tim Bradley garnered 900,000 buys and Pacquiao's most recent fight before the Macau bout, against Marquez, did over 1.4 million. Arum had hoped in the weeks leading up to the Pacquiao-Rios faceoff that they'd get over 1 million, but he didn't seem crushed in the least on Wednesday.
Pacquiao's next fight, against, perhaps, Marquez, Tim Bradley or newly crowned junior middleweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov, will be the first time the infrastructure is in place to have people in China buy the fight on pay-per-view, so we shall see how that affects the buy rates, and overall take.
NOTE: To ESPN's Dan Rafael, Arum estimated a lesser number of buys, so it looks like the counting is still being done.
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