Pacquiao vs Bradley II will be bigger than first fight, says Arum

Kevork Djansezian

With a deal almost totally finalized for an April 12 HBO rematch, Bob Arum says Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley will be bigger the second time around. But will it actually?

Promoter Bob Arum believes that the likely April 12 rematch between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao will be a bigger seller than their first fight in June 2012, drawing from Bradley's big performances in 2013 and, of course, the controversy of their first meeting.

"I think a Bradley-Pacquiao fight now is much more saleable than the Bradley-Pacquiao fight was when it happened, because Bradley has shined his credentials. He had an exciting fight with Provodnikov and beat Marquez. We're dealing with a different Bradley from the relatively unknown guy who fought Pacquiao the first time."

While this makes perfect sense, actually, and it's not a case of a promoter just being a promoter, there is another factor here, and that's whether or not Manny Pacquiao is the same level of star he was in 2012.

Pacquiao's November win over Brandon Rios did just 500,000 or so PPV buys in the United States, and while the sin was that the fight being located in Macao made for less American press coverage, I'm not sure that's actually true, since boxing is covered mainly online these days, and the press events were totally available to stream. Sure, maybe there was less scrum and one-on-one interview coverage after the presser or weigh-in than usual, but do those things really sell a fight anymore? Fights are hyped well in advance. I'm guessing most fans know well before fight night that they plan to order or don't.

Maybe that was just the matchup -- almost nobody thought Rios, coming off of a loss, had any real shot at beating Pacquiao, and the fight played out as most expected. Maybe Bradley, with the controversy, the ability to annoy viewers into wanting to see him beaten (I think it's misdirected anger thrown his way, but hey, it's something that can help sell), and the good wins in 2013, does help more, and maybe Rios was the real drag on the November PPV buys.

The first Pacquiao-Bradley fight drew about 900,000 buys. If they meet that this time, I think it would have to be considered a success. If they can top one million, it's a huge win.

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