The fate of a potential Manny Pacquiao versus Timothy Bradley rematch may ultimately come down to the one thing that nobody originally considered: money.
In the weeks after Bradley’s undeserved June 9 victory over Pacquiao, there was rampant speculation that the two would meet a second time. It just made sense for a lot of reasons.
Sure, their bout wasn’t especially great. Yes, there are some legitimate questions about whether it should have even happened in the first place. And okay, it ended in one of the worst decisions ever recorded in boxing history – but the rematch still made a certain amount of sense.
It allowed Pacquiao to, in theory, “right a wrong.” It allowed Top Rank boss, Bob Arum, to continue to eat off two plates since both guys are his fighters. And, of course, there weren’t all that many other viable options available.
Barring Floyd Mayweather Jr. having an epiphany of some sort in jail, it’s unlikely that he’ll agree to a showdown versus Pacquiao at any point in the foreseeable future. Juan Manuel Marquez has already gotten three shots to beat his Filipino arch rival and failed each time. (Officially, at least.) Miguel Cotto just seemed like too random of a pick, even if all involved did maintain that he was a credible option. Plus, he and Pacquiao have a history of not agreeing on what weight to fight at.
So that left Bradley – simply by process of elimination. Or so we thought.
According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, however, there might actually be a very good reason for Pacquiao not to choose Bradley as his Nov. 9 opponent. Via that report:
Arum has been busy crunching the numbers. He said the Pacquiao-Marquez III pay-per-view in November 2011 generated 1.3 million buys -- about 400,000 more than the June fight Pacquiao had against Bradley. Pacquiao-Cotto generated about 1.25 million buys.
"Cotto brings with him a huge fan base from Puerto Rico and Marquez also has a big fan base with the Hispanics fans," Arum said. "Marquez did 400,000 buys more than Bradley. That fight did a little better than 900,000, so I have to consider that. And Marquez is very anxious for the fight, too. With Bradley, the general sports fan, at least anecdotally, wants them to have a rematch. People I go out to dinner with or people I visit with, they all talk about the rematch with Bradley, not a fourth fight with Marquez -- but they aren't Hispanics. The Hispanic fans are the ones who want the fourth fight with Marquez."
From the very beginning we’ve been looking at this from a strictly redemption storyline standpoint and noting that the Marquez story was actually better – but the money aspect is far more compelling. Not only does Marquez bring a better storyline to the table, he also brings more cash for all involved.
Sure, rivalries grow stale over three-plus bouts, but isn’t a fourth Pacquiao-Marquez showdown better than whatever the heck Pacquiao-Bradley is?
A week ago, it was very unlikely that we would see anything other than Pacquiao-Bradley II in November. Things look very different this week, though.
Stay tuned, things are about to get interesting.