Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao with Top Rank chief Bob Arum and Australian boxer Jeff Horn during a press conference in Brisbane, Australia. OSMP/Wendell Alinea

Pacquiao fight airs free on US cable, pay-per-view in Philippines
AJ Bolando (philstar.com) - July 2, 2017 - 2:55am

MANILA, Philippines – Although Manny Pacquiao's fight against Jeff Horn will be shown on US cable for free, the boxing match is a pay-per-view one in the Philippines.

In partnership with sports network ESPN, Top Rank chief Bob Arum announced that it is the first time that a Pacquiao fight will air live on basic US cable.

“A great gift from ESPN and Manny Pacquiao. You don’t have to dig into your pockets,” Arum told American talk show “Mike and Mike.”

“This time, we're gonna see Manny Pacquiao... first time he’s been on free over the television,” the veteran promoter added.

The eight-division champion will defend his WBO welterweight title against little-known Australian boxer Jeff Horn at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Sunday. It is also Pacquiao’s first time to fight in Australia.

Since the match will be aired free, Arum expects to break decades of records on boxing viewership in the United States.

“I think it’s very important for boxing to have biggest possible audience. Look at professional football, Super Bowl, playoffs, massive audience. Why? Because people have don’t to pay extra to watch it,” Arum said.

“This fight will be watch more people in the US than any boxing match since 1978 and that is something special,” he claimed during a press conferences in Brisbane.

Filipinos pay to watch

In the Philippines, however, cable operators are offering the fight on a pay-per-view basis. SkyCable is selling access to the fight at P949 while Cignal offers the live and commercial-free broadcast at P950.

Some restaurants and sports bars will air the fight at their establishments.

The returns, however, are not guaranteed to match those from Pacquiao’s previous matches since interest in the fight in the Philippines seems much lower. Those offering the fight on a  pay-to-watch basis will also have to compete with free streams over Facebook and other gaming websites.

The fight will be aired free by some local government units, notably by that of Lanao del Sur, where clashes between government troops and terrorists from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf have been going on in Marawi City since May 23.

Lanao del Sur 1st District Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said in a report in The STAR that Vice Governor Bombit Adiong has installed a cable link at the provincial capitol for the live airing of the Pacquiao-Horn fight.

“We will have a live telecast of the fight of Senator Pacquiao on July 2 at the Capitol Compound to make our bakwits (evacuees) happy,” Adiong said.

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