Manny Pacquiao's Endorsement Career Has Blossomed, But Has It Peaked?

Is Manny Pacquiao's time as a pitchman running out? (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, we talked about Top Rank's long overdue decision to bring a specialist on board to handle the bungled outside-the-ring career of Manny Pacquiao, where dozens of people claimed to represent Manny screwed up potential multi-million dollar deals. Lucia McKelvey, who formerly worked with Tiger Woods, was brought on board.

Now, Manny is a marketing force:

"Most companies are looking for that brand ambassador who hits a fan base around the world," says McKelvey, 34. "Manny Pacquiao hits that fan base like no other. He’s global."

... The six-month flurry of endorsements that ensued has some analysts wondering whether Pacquiao’s potential as a pitchman will soon plateau.

Pacquiao rose 51 spots in BusinessWeek’s power rankings over the previous year but analyst David Newman, who helped prepare the report, questions how much higher Pacquiao can climb.

"He’s really close to the top of his peak," says Newman, VP of analytics at CSE, an Atlanta-based sports and entertainment marketing firm. "The life cycle of a boxer is not long."

The article deals with the idea that boxing is in decline, which isn't really true. If anything, the sport has been in a steady holding pattern since about 2007 or 2008 for the most part. But those details are rarely important to people who don't watch boxing.

But I would have to guess that his time as a high-level pitchman could be drawing to a close. The lack of a Mayweather fight (like it or not, that's the bigger breakthrough that still hasn't happened) and the fact that Manny's planning to retire after 2013 are both ominous signs. Without boxing, he'll still have some offers, but he's probably not going to be Michael Jordan, endorsing Nike and Hanes forever.

Still, it really is remarkable that he's gotten to the level he has, and another instance where you can shake your head and wonder how much cash he left on the table when the dummies were running this area of his career.

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