By NICK GIONGCO
From a marketing standpoint, Manny Pacquiao remains a marketable fighter.
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said yesterday Pacquiao’s star continues to shine as the Filipino icon is on the verge of making the biggest paycheck of his career when he faces Brandon Rios in his comeback bout before noon on Nov. 24 in Macau.
Arum didn’t say the exact amount Pacquiao is guaranteed for the Rios showdown but made it clear that the figures are in the vicinity of what he had made in his last few fights.
In the fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez last year, Pacquiao was guaranteed $23 million plus a share in the pay-per-view and gate receipts.
Arum said Pacquiao stands to earn much more in the Rios fight depending on the response of the Chinese pay-per-view.
Arum’s Top Rank Inc. is doing an unprecedented move in selling the fight to the Chinese market through live viewing on tablets and smartphones.
Arum plans to charge a subscription of $5 a pop and owing to China’s enormous population (1.34 billion), the 81-year-old promoter is upbeat of cashing in heavily on this money-making scheme.
“You do the math,” said Arum.
China has surpassed the US as the leading smartphone market this year with an estimated 250 million active accounts.
The Pacquiao-Rios match will also be beamed live on pay-per-view in the US on Saturday night (Nov. 23) but Arum thinks the Chinese pay-per-view is more mouth-watering.
To whet the Chinese appetite, Arum is staging a three-city tour of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou beginning in late-July that will kick off in Macau. A similar promotional event will also take place in Los Angeles and New York for the US audience.
The cash windfall doesn’t only affect Pacquiao but his opponent as well.
Rios, whose previous biggest paycheck was about 1.3 million, is guaranteed over $3 million plus a cut in the pay-per-view.
Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz says it’s like hitting the lottery.
“Whenever you fight Pacquiao or Floyd (Mayweather), you get the biggest purse of your career.”
But there’s a big difference, stressed Koncz.
“But we pay much better than Floyd.”