General interest in the sport of boxing has declined mightily since “the fight of the century” between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao failed to live up to widespread expectations. And considering that boxing now has no mainstream stars left in the sport, aside from Pacquiao’s fading one, it’s hard to see who might revitalize interest outside of the already well-entrenched fans.
Pacquiao has ended his very brief ‘retirement’ to return to the ring tomorrow against Jessie Vargas — but there’s no buzz surrounding this fight. It’s a fight no fans were clamoring for, and one that features little intrigue since Pacquiao is the considerable favorite heading in.
Despite all that, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum still believes that Pacquiao’s supporters will turn out tomorrow to make for a successful event.
"We all know that people were disappointed by the pay-per-view with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, so it's hard to say what we can achieve this weekend but either way we expect good numbers for this event,” Arum told ESPN Deportes.
“Manny Pacquiao continues being one of the great attractions of the sport and we have a pretty good undercard.”
What defines ‘good numbers’ can be subjective and measured in different ways. I’d expect PPV numbers in the U.S. to be pretty low by Pacquiao’s standards, but it seems Arum is also banking on viewership in China, expected to be bolstered by Zou Shiming, to carry the day for his event.
“If things go as we expect, this card will be seen in China by about 80 or 100 million fans, which is something great and it's the reason why the big sponsors came to this card.”
I know often times fans who aren’t thrilled with a fight can be swayed into paying attention once the fight is actually upon us. So tell me, how many of you are planning to tune in for Pacquiao-Vargas?