Manny Pacquiao’s place in boxing lore is set. Regardless of whether he ever wins another match or not, after dominating his opposition for the better part of the last decade the Filipino star will go down as one of the all-time greats. His body of work up to this point is just too sizable for anything to truly tarnish his elite status.
That being said, although his general greatness is beyond debate at this point, Pacquiao’s final legacy is not. How folks remember him, what they remember him for, those are still things that will be shaped and molded by the decisions he makes over the next several years.
A few weeks ago, Pacquiao’s camp came out and stated that he would not fight his next bout in America. According to them, the country’s slightly higher taxes were too much for the former champ to handle now, and they would seek out better opportunities elsewhere. The declaration was bizarre for several reasons.
First and foremost, Pacquiao had been taxed at a higher rate for his U.S. fights than he would have been in other places for years. Why was this suddenly a problem? Because taxes had gone up by a little over the past 12 months? Why weren’t other big name stars fleeing the country then?
Two, it was a strange announcement because it completely ignored the inevitable PPV hit Pacquiao’s fight would take. A pay-per-view (PPV) bout taking place outside of the United States would make about half the sales that an American one would. If you presume that a fifth fight between him and Juan Manuel Marquez pair does at minimum the same total as their fourth fight did, that’s at least 575,000 in potential PPV sales left on the table.
"Manny can go back to Las Vegas and make $25 million, but how much of it will he end up with – $15 million?" Arum told Yahoo! Sports. "If he goes to Macau, perhaps his purse will only be $20 million, but he will get to keep it all, so he will be better off." Arum told Yahoo! Sports recently.
The $2 million-$5 million difference is something that could easily be overcome with the right endorsement deals. Pacquiao doesn’t need to cross the border over it.
Marquez certainly has no intention of doing so.
"Juan hasn't expressed the same concern about U.S. taxes that Manny has," Arum acknowledged.
He hasn’t expressed the same concerns because they’re stupid concerns.
"We were talking only this morning about where and when and against who he would fight next," Koncz told Yahoo! Sports. "One thing we agreed on is that the taxes make Vegas a no-go. You're a fighter up there risking your life in the ring, so you have to maximize what you are going to get out of it.”
If anyone didn’t think that Pacquiao wanting to fight outside of America was greedy and pointless, Koncz being behind the idea should settle it.
Let’s say for a moment that you buy the general premise, though. Pacquiao doesn’t want to hold his next bout in America, in front of the fans who helped turn himself into a global sensation. Fine. Why not just hold it in Manila, in front of the other set of fans who made him who he is today?
According to the Manila Bulletin, local politicians Reps. Amado Bagatsing (LP, Manila), Bernadette Herrera-Dy and JV Ejercito-Estrada, are urging him to do just that.
Unfortunately, Rep. Alfredo Benitez has some serious doubts about it actually happening.
“It will happen if the price is right,” Benitez stated, reiterating that for Pacquiao and his team it’s all about the power of the almighty dollar.
Pacquiao has been doing this for 18 years. He has had his big money fights. He has had his huge endorsements, both in America and overseas. His financial situation should be secure at this point. It should not dictate where he holds his next few fights – his legacy should. American fans and Philippine fans are the reason he is who he is today. He owes them a fight, not the gamblers in Macau.
Here is to hoping the former champ makes the right call as it pertains to his next venue.