MANILA, Philippines – Fight promoters are crossing their fingers that a Manny Pacquiao-Oscar de la Hoya headliner will have generated enough interest by December 6.
Because it’s the only way for the highly anticipated bout to generate a decent showing on pay-per-view sales and meet over-the-top expectations.
Top Rank Inc. and de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions gave a glum forecast on separate Internet reports in the weekend, admitting that the economic downturn in the US will impact the Pacquiao-de la Hoya bout.
With the US economy in shambles, there’s a chance an American viewer won’t shell out $54.95 to get PPV access to the fight without thinking twice or thrice about it.
In the media conference call on Monday (Tuesday morning, Manila time), a comparison was even brought up that the Dream Match could head the way of two recent major cards – the Bernard Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik fight in October and the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. match earlier this month – that saw their PPV sales bomb.
GBP chief executive Richard Schaefer was quick to dismiss any similarities.
“[Those fights] didn’t have the Latino angle and we all know Hispanics are passionate fans,” Schaefer said, referring to Pacquiao and de la Hoya’s appeal to one of the biggest minority groups in the US.
“Plus you look at the other factors. Pay-per-view fights come better in the West Coast than in the East Coast. Add … the kind of coverage we’re getting and the excitement is building. The signs are very promising.”
Schaefer told the Los Angeles Times last week that breaking the record in PPV sales “won’t happen”. But he said there was a silver lining through it all.
“The economy is clearly a concern for everyone. Those who say it’s not are simply lying. Like Oscar said, now people pick and choose the kind of fight they want to see.
“[But] maybe the time of the monthly PPVs is over and so I think that’s actually good news, I guess, for fight fans,” Schaefer added.
“It will clearly shift events which, in the past, would’ve made pay-per-view. [In the end], you’re just gonna have the best matches on pay-per-view and frankly, I guess, that’s how it should be.”
Jeng Gacal, Pacquiao’s legal counsel, said that they’re only looking to produce 1.5 million PPV buys, a far cry from the record 2.5 million buys the promoters were looking to surpass.
“It’s disappointing that such an event that’s beyond our control will keep people away from seeing the fight in the best way possible,” Gacal said.
“As of now, you can really feel the pinch. People are careful. Hopefully, the fans – the Filipinos and the US as a whole – will realize that it’ll be worth their pockets to go out and watch Manny and Oscar.”
As in all PPV fights, Pacquiao and de la Hoya’s earnings will depend a lot on the PPV sales.
Although they will receive percentages from corporate sponsorship of the bout and gate receipts, the fighters’ PPV cut will amount to at least more than half of their earnings.
“Both fighters already have guaranteed purses,” Gacal said. “But if the PPV sales are bad, we won’t expect to earn beyond what has already been guaranteed.”
Gacal did not divulge Pacquiao’s guaranteed share but said that Pacquiao will be hard-pressed to meet the $15 million to $20 million (P745.95 million to P994.6 million) his team had originally projected.
“But it will still be Manny’s biggest purse in his career.”
According to Gacal, he has talked to US-based Filipinos who promised they will be watching the fight.
“It’s encouraging but you know how Filipinos are. We still have that barangay mentality where you have five families watching in one household to be able to save up,” Gacal said.
“So instead of getting five PPVs, you have one. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. Bad times call for that kind of measure.”
When asked if Pacquiao has expressed concern about the situation, Gacal said they’ve talked about it.
“He knows what’s going on with the financial crisis and all but that’s not where his attention is right now. He just wants to focus on the task at hand, which is to fight hard and win.”