As November 22 fast approaches, there will no doubt still remain the detractors who are questioning the relevance of Manny Pacquiao’s bout with Chris Algieri and its respective location. It’s often interesting how such opinions have been formed by even the most ardent fans of boxing, even though the history of the sport is boosted by the memories of noteworthy bouts in countries such as the Philippines and the nation formerly known as the Republic of Zaire.
Concessions have already been made for Pacquiao’s welterweight championship clash with his Huntington, New York opponent. There should be no chance of the sort of drama we get from guys who habitually starve and dehydrate themselves to make weight, as Manny has to be fed several times a day just come close to the poundage limit and Chris has campaigned almost exclusively as a light welterweight. The fighters will likely climb into the ring in the early to later morning hours on November 23 (in Macao) after having visited the scales less than twenty four hours earlier.
Still, many queries are swirling around the choice of locale. It’s not just because Pacquiao is a worldwide attraction who practically has the entire Asian continent on his side or because Algieri’s name isn’t Marquez, Cotto or Bradley. It’s because money not only talks but also makes the art of tact so much easier as well. To conquer Asia is cover the world. Alexander the Great knew this, so perhaps Bob Arum is on to something similar. That being said, why not break the mold of boxing’s current state (or country) of affairs and give the sporting fans of the Pacific Rim a shorter flight in order to put the shoe (or glove) on the other appendage?
That’s right. Forget Las Vegas and think Macau. To put things into perspective, consider the Asian economy against that of the United States. Despite Sin City’s willingness to roll out the red carpet to its respective school of whales and high rollers, there must be a clear understanding of those who really fuel the intake of the typical Vegas casino. It’s the nickel and dimer. It’s those who would consider a red carpet as just a place to wipe their feet. It’s the one arm bandits who have in recent years had to settle for a button instead of a crank on their preferred slot machine of choice.
The economy as well as population of Asia is a stark contrast to the power of the Yankee dollar. Macau changed its strategy a little less than ten years ago in an attempt to get its casino patrons to stay overnight as opposed to just a fun day’s trip. In that time, the head to head revenue comparison between the special administrative region of China and Las Vegas has gone to simply staggering heights. The cash flow went from six months in the Nevada desert to one month on the Cotai strip all the way to seven years in Vegas to one on the Pearl River Delta.
Although a recent report by the BBC stated that October’s (2014) revenue fell over 23% versus the same from last year as China’s government turns an eye from their own corruption to Macau’s, it would still be a game site to host the long awaited matchup between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. The amount of money changing hands would be mind blowing, inasmuch as “to the moon and back”. Granted, that’s an impossibility, but site fees alone could come close to paying a huge chunk of the likely one hundred million dollar fight purse. That of course is why the big fights are held at places such as MGM and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Site fees for the big fights easily top eight figures these days, so the casino usually banks on making the money back via the gamblers on the gaming floor.
If the biggest fight of this generation is staged in Macau, then Mayweather’s typical methods of profit (setting ticket and pay per view prices, etc.) would almost prove immaterial in the face of a record shattering evening of boxing. Last month, Top Rank head Bob Arum stated his reasoning for staging the Pacquiao/Algieri bout there when he commented, “We’re probably fighting in the best location in the world in Macau, China. The people there will see why it’s so desirable to fight somewhere like the Cotai Arena in Macau.” Love or loathe him, but the man had a very valid point.
If pay TV deals in China as well as other Asian countries fall into place, then it would be beyond the thickest of heads why “Money vs Manny” would be anywhere other than Macau. It would be a grand treat for a region of the world that represents so much of the planet and it would also give the media outlets of the rest of the world access to the biggest fight ever. American media be damned or be on a transoceanic flight. That’s what the internet and live streams are for.
Of course, this is but a dream. For one, it is highly unlikely that Mayweather would ever fight anywhere but his home base. Mayweather may love China but he loves the short ride from his compound to the Vegas Strip even more. Other than the obvious, how much money could be thrown at the moniker of the same name to make this an inch closer to reality? It’s worth a look either way.