Manny Pacquiao Blog Part 2: Monday, November 3
Question: Pacquiao and China, is that helping boxing popularity? Why fighting in China? China vs. Las Vegas.
Asia is a fertile market for boxing. The sport has been very popular in the Philippines, Japan and Southeast Asia for a long time, but China, with its billions in population, has long been an untapped source for potential boxing fans.
Boxing owes a great debt to Zou Shiming, China’s two-time Olympic gold medalist, for opening his homeland to boxing by fighting professionally at The Venetian Macao these past two years. Shiming has sold out the Cotai Arena every time he has fought there while allowing fighters like me to share his cards and display our talents to his enormous fan base — both in-person and throughout the country on television. There’s even a new televised boxing show which was developed from the popularity of The Venetian Macao shows.
I love fighting in the United States. I have fought many fights in Las Vegas but when I fought Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium it added a whole new dynamic to the event. Not only did fans from the Dallas-Fort Worth area get to experience boxing at a world championship level, but millions of fans tuned in to see those two fights because they took place at Cowboys Stadium. It was exhilarating.
The same is true fighting in Macao, China. Fans from all over the world are watching my fights at The Venetian Macao not just because of the fight itself but because they want to see a live event from China. And the billions in China now have the opportunity to watch world championship boxing on their own national and regional networks. That is a lot of exposure for fighters and for sponsors of boxing events held there.
It is also tapping into a new segment of athletes which can only improve the sport and its popularity. Every country loves to root for their own athletes and by having more Chinese fighters in the professional ranks more Chinese fans will begin following our sport and making it a bigger international attraction.
I love fighting in Las Vegas but when I fight in Macao I feel like I am playing a home game. Macao is only a 90-minute flight from the Philippines so many of my countrymen are able to attend where the expense of traveling to the U.S. may have been too much for them. Fans from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe filled the Cotai Arena the last time I fought there, and that was a great experience. And the Chinese fans were so enthusiastic. It was a wonderful experience to fight for them. The biggest difference between fighting in Las Vegas and fighting in Macao is that virtually all the fans are in their seats before the first bout begins. They really love their boxing in Macao.
“24/7 Pacquiao/Algieri” premieres Saturday, Nov. 8 at 1:00 a.m. (ET/PT) on HBO immediately following the live World Championship Boxing event from Atlantic City.
Pacquiao vs. Algieri happens Saturday, November 22 live on pay-per-view beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.