Backlash, fatigue hurt Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view sales
Manny Pacquiao acknowledges the fans as he prepares to enter the ring for his title fight against Timothy Bradley.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Timothy Bradley walks to the MGM Grand Garden Arena ring before facing Manny Pacquiao in a WBO welterweight title fight on Saturday in Las Vegas.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Manny Pacquiao lands a left as he trades punches with Timothy Bradley Jr. during their title fight in Las Vegas.(John Locher / Associated Press)
Manny Pacquiao goes on the attack against Timothy Bradley during their WBO welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand on Apr. 9.(John Locher / Associated Press)
Timothy Bradley Jr. tries to land a left jab against Manny Pacquiao during their WBO welterweight championship fight.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Manny Pacquiao gets instructions in between rounds from trainer Freddie Roach during a WBO welterweight title fight in Las Vegas.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Timothy Bradley, right, lands an overhand right against Manny Pacquiao during their WBO welterweight title fight Saturday.(John Locher / Associated Press)
Manny Pacquiao tries to land a right against Timothy Bradley Jr. during their WBO welterweight title bout.(John Locher / Associated Press)
Timothy Bradley Jr. tries to get back up after getting knocked to the canvas by Manny Pacquiao during their fight Saturday. Bradley went down in the seventh and ninth rounds.(John Locher / Associated Press)
Manny Pacquiao throws a left during a WBO welterweight championship fight against Timothy Bradley Jr. on Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Manny Pacquiao is seeking his fourth WBO welterweight title on Saturday.(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
Manny Pacquiao’s April 9 victory over Timothy Bradley generated just “a hair over” 400,000 pay-per-view buys on HBO, promoter Bob Arum said Monday.
The sluggish figure from an impressive showing by Pacquiao, in which he knocked down Bradley twice and won a unanimous decision with 116-110 scores on all three judges’ scorecards, were likely tied to multifaceted backlash.
First, Pacquiao generated massive criticism in the U.S. from a February Philippines television interview in which he said people who engage in same-sex relations are “worse than animals.”
Arum said the fallout from that included a Disney decision stopping Pacquiao from repeating his usual pre-fight appearances on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Secondly, the backlash over Pacquiao’s uncharacteristic performance in his greatly anticipated May 2015 loss decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. was in play.
In the fourth round versus Mayweather, Pacquiao aggravated a shoulder injury he suffered in training before the bout, triggering criticism over why he didn’t postpone the bout that took six years to make.
Mayweather’s final bout against Andre Berto in September also had just 400,000 buys.
“What happened to Floyd happened to Manny,” Arum said after fight fans generated more than $400 million in pay-per-view receipts for that record-setting event.
Also, there was fatigue over a third meeting with Bradley after two strong prior Pacquiao showings.
“We sold it as a new Bradley,” under new trainer Teddy Atlas, Arum said. “And it was the best of the three fights.”
Last week, the Nevada State Athletic Commission reported ticket sales at MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Pacquiao-Bradley III were $6,411,584, a sharp drop from the $7,865,100 their second fight in 2014 generated and the $8,963,180 their first meeting on June 9, 2012, drew.
Other than that, Pacquiao failed to draw 400,000 buys only before his 2008 breakout victory over Oscar De La Hoya. In his March 2008 victory over Juan Manuel Marquez — the second of their four meetings — Pacquiao’s ticket sales at Mandalay Bay were $3,347,900, according to the Nevada commission.
Following the April 9 Bradley victory, Pacquiao said he was joining Mayweather, 39, in retirement. Pacquiao, 37, is seeking a seat in the Philippines Senate, with the election on May 9.
Coachella Valley’s Bradley has told Arum he’s taking a two-month hiatus, then he will return to discuss his future plans.
Arum wasn’t bothered Monday by thoughts of what this means for Pacquiao.
“It’s a non-issue. He’s retired,” Arum said. “I assume he wins the Senate seat and then he won’t fight again, so it’s irrelevant.”
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