3 Reasons Why Pacquiao-Marquez 4 Will Do Big PPV Buys

December 7, 2012

The recent news that the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel sold-out – with a gate of $10.5 million – just helps to prove what people should already know: Bob Arum knows what he’s doing.

Many so-called boxing fans were up in arms when they heard that Pacquiao would be fighting Marquez again.  There were predictions from some corners that the fight would not sell because the public would be bored with watching these two fighters yet again. No one will waste time watching another Pacquiao-Marquez fight, they scoffed.  The public demands to see something “new,” even if it’s not Pacquiao-Mayweather.

Well perhaps some of them will be bored with the matchup, but the public will not.
The prediction here is that those prognostications will appear that much sillier after the fight does well over 1 million PPV buys and certainly surpasses the Pacquiao-Bradley numbers.  Bob Arum has known all along that this fight was still the best “non-Mayweather” mega fight out there for Pacquiao – a factor Pacquiao undoubtedly considered when deciding to fight Marquez for the fourth time.

Here are three things the skeptics failed to see.
1.            Not every fight needs a new and exciting HBO 24/7 to sell it.

Almost every big fight in boxing nowadays has its corresponding HBO 24/7 series connected to it.  Indeed, fights 2 and 3 of this rivalry had such documentaries to help promote them.  But haven’t we already seen everything we needed to outside the ring between these guys?
In fact, we pretty much have seen everything interesting about this fight discussed in prior 24/7 documentaries.  (Of course, that won’t prohibit new fans from being drawn into the backstory.)  Unsurprisingly, the latest 24/7 series was hardly full of new or exciting information and there was very little buzz surrounding it.  So doesn’t that indicate that people aren’t interested in watching the fight?

No, because while the public essentially knew what the Pacquiao/Marquez 4 24/7 episodes would look like, they don’t know who is going to win the actual fight.  
HBO 24/7 helps sell fights that require almost an introduction of one of the fighters.  But when the backstory is so well known about the fighters, you don’t need tons of extra media coverage for fans to watch it.  Most fans are already interested in both fighters because they have watched them for so long.  Thus, they’re essentially hooked, which is why Bob Arum knew this would be an easy fight to sell.


2.            The huge base of Mexican and Filipino fans alone will sell the fight.
Cynics who believed that this fight would not garner interest probably did not count on the last Pacquiao-Marquez fight doing 1.45 million buys either.  Like some political pundits who incorrectly predicted the presidential election last month, they appear to ignore some of the demographic realities in the country.

Mexican fans throughout the country will make sure to watch this fight and this will boost the PPV buys.  The legitimate opportunity for any native Mexican to dethrone Pacquiao would draw many of them to the fight, let alone if that Mexican is an established star like Juan Manuel Marquez who has proven he can perform. (By the way, this will also be represented in the crowd, where, unlike the previous three fights, the overwhelming majority of the crowd should be pro-Marquez from the outset.) 
Of course, Filipino fans will be sure to support Pacquiao as always as well.  Indeed a very real rivalry between the two fan groups has developed and expanded over the course of the previous fights. The solid and passionate support from these groups alone keeps the interest alive for this fight.  Further it will help counteract any possible diminishment of PPV buys because some “fans” might be turned off by this fight.


3.            Quality defeats novelty almost every time.
The belief that Pacquiao needed to fight someone “new” to keep fans interested was faulty from the start.  The last thing we need is for Pacquiao, at this stage in his career, wasting time fighting any fighters who haven’t already been on a big stage.

What most fans want is to watch a competitive fight between good fighters.  They don’t want to be fed bogus hype about how some relatively unknown fighter might surprise Pacquiao and pull of an upset – then watch as that fighter gets predictably dominated.  An example being the Pacquiao-Bradley fight that did only 700,000 PPV buys.
(Of course, one would hope that fans don’t want to be sold a fight where fighters with name recognition are put into the ring with little regard to current form, but even that sells much better.  Sugar Shane Mosley’s reputation – certainly not his diminished boxing skills – helped create 1.3 million PPV buys.)

Pacquiao and Marquez are proven warriors who have fought three good close fights in the past.  The last fight did 1.45 million PPV buys and was high quality and close.  Most fans should reasonably assume that the fourth fight will also be entertaining as well.

Truly big fights are rare over the course of a year and Marquez and Pacquiao have fought four times in over eight years.  Do people get tired of watching a high quality World Series or the NBA Finals as teams play 7 games in the span of two weeks?  So why would they be bored by the prospect of seeing a good fight between legends every year or so when the outcome remains uncertain?

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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