By: Kirk Jackson
What is the boxer/politician fighting for? That’s one of the questions looming prior to the first major pay-per-view event of the year featuring one of the legends of boxing, Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao 60-7-2 (39 KO’s).
The Pac-Man hopes to have an answer for “The Problem” that is Adrien Broner 33-3-1, 1 NC (24 KO’s). While boxing’s most famous politician is fighting for the prize obviously, what exactly is the prize he is fighting for?
According to paperwork filed with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Pacquiao’s purse is $10 million, plus a percentage of the profits from the pay-per-view event.
Multiple sources confirmed to BoxingScene.com and other media outlets, Pacquiao’s total purse from fighting Broner will generate at least $20 million. The Pac-Man will earn $10 million Saturday night, from which will pay towards federal income taxes and taxes to help settle outstanding debt with the Internal Revenue Service.
Other financial particulars comprise of expenses such as sanctioning fees for defending the WBA’s Regular world welterweight title and wages towards members of his team. However, a silver lining for Pacquiao is the money he will earn from various revenue streams – including Filipino television rights, American pay-per-view revenue from Showtime and sponsorships.
The earning of multi-millions is quite the prize, but the other rewards Pacquiao is fighting for does not have a price tag.
Pacquiao is fighting for his people – as he is affectionately known as the fighting pride of the Philippines and he is fighting in a sense to represent older athletes and show he still has the juice (no pun intended).
“Life begins at 40,” exclaimed Pacquiao at his gala leading up to the fight. “Physically, I still feel like I am 25, but with the benefit of the wisdom that comes from the added years of my life experience. I still have a lot I want to accomplish as an athlete, a public servant, and a father, husband and son. I look forward to adding more chapters to my life story.”
Also now more than ever, Pacquiao is fighting with a sense of freedom. No longer bound by the invisible lasso of Top Rank Promotions, that prohibited Pacquiao from matching up against some of the best opposition at welterweight in recent years.
Pacquiao secured greater fight freedom upon signing with the perceived enemy – at least amongst many members of the media, Al Haymon.
🚨 | PACQUIAO SIGNS WITH HAYMON! ✍️
The Filipino ring legend signs with boxing power-broker Al Haymon – and has already set his sights on members of the PBC roster… 👇
— Boxing Social (@boxing_social) October 22, 2018
Pacquiao now has the opportunity to fight Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia or Danny Garcia. He could even fight long-time adversary Floyd Mayweather if he is tempted to return from retirement.
“That’s the thinking in my mind and my heart — that there will be another [Mayweather] fight,” Pacquiao acknowledged last week in an interview with the Times.
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) September 15, 2018
The opinion from most boxing observers is Pacquiao will defeat Broner. Theoretically if Pacquiao wins, what is next for him?
Assuming he doesn’t suffer too much damage against Broner, Pacquiao more than likely will be well suited to fight again late spring/early summer. With all of these options, which road is Pacquiao most likely to follow?
To figure that out, we must observe history. Although Pacquiao has a great resume and will be remembered as a great fighter and one of the best fighters from his era, there are many instances where the easier path was selected. This is a part of the sport, part of the business and many fighters dating back to the Jack Johnson days operated under this pretense.
Whether Pacquiao fights his other Premier Boxing Champions compatriots remains to be seen. In recent memory for years ongoing, there was the highly anticipated, vastly discussed match-up between Pacquiao and fellow Top Rank stable mate Terence Crawford, but it never materialized.
Even recently Pacquiao mentioned how he would handle the likes of welterweight monster Errol Spence and one has to wonder if it’s just talk or a possible reality?
For Pacquiao, the last three opponents leading up to Broner were Lucas Matthysse, Jeff Horn and Jessie Vargas.
Matthyesse was past his prime, Horn and Vargas are very good fighters but probably a tier below the top welterweights.
In spite of Pacquiao and his team speaking highly of the 40-year-old’s talents and physical abilities even at this advanced age, it’s difficult to imagine Pacquiao as an elite level fighter equipped to tackle the monsters at welterweight.
At this stage, Pacquiao doesn’t have anything to prove and he’s at a stage where he can reap the benefits of his reputation in the twilight of his career. As far as we know, Pacquiao now more so than ever has the executive freedom to do so. There isn’t a mandate for Pacquiao to fight the monsters at welterweight.
This fight is an illustration of such. But it can be also viewed as a barometer as to what Pacquiao can still do.
Yes Pacquiao is fighting to prove a point about age, he’s fighting for money (as every fighter should) and he’s fighting to secure the future of his fighters under his promotional company.
“I’m working with Al Haymon and consulting him for this big opportunity for me and my boxers that I have in the Philippines,” Pacquiao said of the reach Haymon has in the boxing industry, coupled with his deals with Fox and Showtime. “You know, so it’s a big opportunity for them.”
“I’m not thinking about myself alone, but I’m thinking about my fighters. I have a lot of fighters in the Philippines, at least 50 boxers, and I want them to have a chance here, in America, to fight.”
The perfect opponent for Pacquiao to make his PBC debut is against Broner. While Broner is one of boxing’s exuberant personalities, he far removed as being regarded as one of boxing’s best fighters.
While Broner is extremely talented, his talent may have also served as his biggest hindrance. When a fighter is naturally gifted, things have a tendency to come easier; more naturally. In some cases, the talented individual may not hone the skills necessary to stay at an elite level and perform consistently to their greatest ability.
Broner displayed exploits of greatness in previous fights, but also performed poorly; underwhelming even, when the spotlight was on him. He’s the unpredictable variable.
“With Adrien, the curiosity is you never know what you’re gonna get out of him,” Showtime analyst and former Broner opponent Paulie Malignaggi told BoxingScene.com. “You can never predict him, and unpredictability is a very big key to marketing.”
“When you never can figure out the answer to somebody – he’s ‘The Problem,’ and nobody has the answer. You never know what mood he’s in or if he’s being genuine or disingenuous. You never know if he’s joking or he’s serious. But the bottom line is he can fight. If you can’t fight and you’re a boxer, none of the other intangibles will matter. People tend to forget in all this that the kid can fight.”
Just as people are writing off Broner, Pacquiao experienced the same after falling to Horn in 2017.
“People writing me off after the Jeff Horn fight was good for me. I’m not mad at anyone who thought that. It just became a challenge and a test to me of whether or not I could still show my best,” said Pacquiao.
“The knockout in my last fight felt good. It felt like my younger days against Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and others. That fight was a big challenge for me to recover from the fight against Jeff Horn. People said that my career was done. But I never got discouraged, I just worked hard and made the knockout against Lucas Matthysse happen.
Whether Manny can capture that knock-out magic against Broner remains to be witnessed. While he’s fighting with divine purpose, a defeat does not hinder Pacquiao.
His legacy is already cemented and everything earned this upcoming bout and beyond is the cherry on top.