Manny Pacquiao defends his WBO 147lb title against undefeated Jeff Horn on April 23 in Brisbane, Australia. This is a fight that suits Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, as he’s the one that ones the fight, as well as Horn and his promoters. The U.S boxing fans have little knowledge of Horn, and they’re mystified at the fight.
While some hardcore boxing fans see it as a way for Pacquiao to milk his title against a beatable contender in Horn, other fans see it as a self-serving move by Arum to increase the popularity of Horn, who he now co-promotes.
Arum has talked about the Pacquiao-Horn fight being televised on free television in the U.S. However, it might still end up on PPV, but it’s hard to imagine the fight bringing in a lot of buys. Pacquiao’s last fight against Arum fighter Jessie Vargas pulled in 300,000 buys. Those are good numbers for Saul Canelo Alvarez, but not good for Pacquiao.
It’s a reflection of Arum’s very conservative match-making that he’s been doing for Pacquiao since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. Rather than reaching out to other promoters outside his Top Rank organization to match Pacquiao, Arum has stuck with putting him exclusively with own Top Rank guys in a club-like way of match-making. The results have been dismal with Pacquiao-Vargas bringing in the said 300K buys and Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley 3 getting just 400,000 buys.
“I would expect three or four thousand Filipinos to fly from the Philippines for this fight Down Under,” Arum said to ESPN.com.”It will be the biggest fight in Australian history but, until the money is secured, we have to keep our options open, including looking at the Middle East and USA.”
If Arum can get a big site fee, then maybe it might be worth it for Pacquiao to fight Horn. The U.S boxing fans would prefer to see Pacquiao fight someone in the U.S that they’ve heard of and care about. However, Arum seems like he’s going to only match Pacquiao against his Top Rank fighters for the remainder of his career at this point, so it probably doesn’t matter that he’s not fighting in the U.S.
He would likely still be facing a Top Rank fighter anyway, and Arum doesn’t have any big names at welterweight other than Tim Bradley. Arum plans on matching Pacquiao against Terence Crawford later this year. He’s also interested in matching him against Top Rank fighter Vasyl Lomachenko. That fight could take place next year.