LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao is out to seek vindication in his fourth showdown with arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez and the Saturday (Sunday in Manila) face-off may fetch for the Filipino ring icon one of the richest purses in his career – P1.2 billion.
Promoter Bob Arum talked about some huge numbers Thursday and told Filipino scribes Pacquiao is guaranteed $23 million for his fourth fight with the Mexican counter-puncher, and once everything else comes in, the eight-division champion may earn as much as $30 million, or roughly P1.2 billion.
“Manny is guaranteed $23 million, meaning he gets that amount no matter what happens,” said the chief of Top Rank Promotions. He added that Pacquiao will earn a few million more from other revenues.
“Which makes it around $28 million to $30 million,” he said.
Marquez is guaranteed $6 million and may end up with as much as $9 million once the pay-per-view sales and proceeds from the gates, closed-circuit, television rights, tickets and merchandise are all in.
Arum said Marquez received $8 million after the third fight last November.
Pacquiao started fighting at 106 lbs with just $20 as his purse, and despite his controversial loss to Timothy Bradley last June remains boxing’s biggest draw other than Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Arum said giant cable company HBO is tracking down significant numbers as the pay-per-view sales for Saturday’s mega-fight come in.
For Pacquiao vs Marquez last November, sales reached close to 1.3 million buys, more than triple the 400,000 hits for the second fight between the two boxers in 2008.
“The numbers we are tracking are a little behind the third (fight) but already ahead of the Bradley fight (800,000). But at the end of the day it should be something larger than the third fight,” Arum said.
Regarding tickets, the promoter, who will turn 81 on the day of the fight, said there’s almost nothing left. The MGM can seat as many as 17,000.
“I don’t think there’s any left. This morning there was like 158 so they should be gone by now. The third fight was also a sellout but the first two weren’t,” he said.
Despite the huge numbers, Arum explained that it doesn’t necessarily mean people would buy a fifth fight.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
“Because if Manny wins people will crave an opponent they’ve never seen, like Brandon Rios. And if Juan Manuel Marquez wins then Bradley will be a good opponent for Marquez,” said Arum.
The other day, the two boxers agreed that this is going to be their last fight.
The Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry has to end Saturday at the MGM. And if you ask the guru of boxing promotions, it should end in a knockout.
“Yeah,” he said.
“I think the way Marquez will fight this fight and try to apply the pressure on Pacquiao, this is destined to end in a knockout,” he said.
But thats can go either way, of course.
Money for typhoon victims
Although focused and all pumped up for the fight, Pacquiao took the occasion to pledge support for the victims of typhoon “Pablo” that has left a quarter million people homeless and killed over 470 people.
“I am aware of what is going on, and my prayers are with the people of the Philippines. I have people who are monitoring the situation, and they will handle anything I ask them to do,” Pacquiao, a congressman in nearby Sarangani province, said.
“I’ll go out and raise money for the people who were affected. I have helped my countrymen before, and I will do whatever they ask me to do to help,” he said.
Pacquiao is running unopposed for re-election in May. He said his district was not severely affected by the typhoon but he is willing to assist any way he can.
Expect lower crime rate
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is expecting a lull in crime incidents tomorrow, as has always been the case in Pacquiao fights.
“As in previous Pacquiao fights, everyone will be hooked to television screens to watch Rep. Pacquiao unleash his fury of punches against his opponent. It is anticipated that even criminal elements will take a break from their criminal ways to watch the fight,” PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said.
He said the PNP will not let its guard down for any incident that may arise before, during and after the fight.
Cerbo said he has no information yet if PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome will be watching the free showing of Pacquiao-Marquez IV at the PNP Multi-Purpose Hall, which could accommodate over a thousand people.
Some 1,500 PNP off-duty personnel stationed at the national headquarters are watching the free screening of the fight at the PNP Multi-Purpose Center where the PNP’s personal insurance provider, Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund, has set up a wide screen that will telecast the bout live.
Cerbo said the special viewing will give PNP personnel the chance to be one with the nation in cheering for the people’s champ.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on the other hand, said they will continue conducting rescue operations in typhoon-hit areas even during Pacquiao’s fight.
AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. gave assurance that their humanitarian efforts would not be hampered even if major military camps will provide free viewing of the fight.
“The AFP will maintain its day-to-day security operations to ensure peace and stability in the country during the highly anticipated match between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez,” Burgos said.
AFP chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa believes that Pacquiao – an Army reserve lieutenant colonel – can even boost the morale of troops involved in rescue efforts.
“Let his resiliency and determination in the ring be a source of inspiration as we all try to bounce back from this tragedy,” he said.
Off-duty soldiers and their dependents will be given the chance to view the fight for free in several camps nationwide.
Dellosa is expected to watch the boxing match in Camp Aguinaldo.
The bout will be shown at the AFP gym and the Civil Relations Service Multi-Purpose Hall in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Wounded soldiers in the AFP Medical Center in V. Luna, Quezon City will also be able to watch.
Rescuers in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, and other provinces affected by the typhoon will have to make do with replays of the bout during their free time.
Meanwhile, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said congressmen who are planning to watch Pacquiao’s fight in Las Vegas are insensitive towards the plight of Filipinos who are suffering from typhoon Pablo’s blows.
“(Northern Samar Rep. Emil) Ong, (House committee on labor and employment chairman), should do a Pacquiao and push for the passage of the P125 wage hike bill instead. It will surely anger the country’s workers if he watches Pacquiao’s fight in Las Vegas without passing the measure, which needs his push for its advance in Congress,” KMU chairman Elmer Labog said.
The P125 wage hike bill is awaiting a Luzon-wide consultation before it can be approved at the committee level and submitted to the House plenary for deliberation.
Workers have been pressing for the immediate holding of the consultation, but House committee on labor and employment leaders have so far failed to make arrangements.
The KMU also wished Pacquiao luck in his fourth bout with Marquez, saying the fighting congressman has the support of the country’s workers, especially because he champions a legislated and significant wage hike.
In June 2011 Pacquiao signed as co-sponsor of House Bill 375, filed by Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano, which seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike for the country’s private-sector workers.
In August 2012, the boxing champion gave a substantial donation to KMU’s relief drive for the victims of flooding caused by torrential rains.
“Pacquaio has shown us that his heart really is with workers and the country’s poor. He has the courage to lend his prestige to supporting workers’ long-standing call for a significant wage hike which the Aquino government has been rejecting,” he added. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Sandy Araneta, Alexis Romero