By Ivan G. Goldman
Would you buy another vehicle from the same folks who forgot to mention that the last one they sold you sat submerged in floodwaters for two weeks?
If the answer is yes, maybe you’ll be interested in Manny Pacquiao’s next fight.
I’m sure you get the point. Manny, as far back as I can remember, proclaimed that his Number One priority was to please the fans. But earlier this year he skipped past the ethical choice, which was to postpone or cancel an extravaganza that promised to pay him over $100 million.
His top priority slipped down somewhere around his ankles as he climbed into the ring against Floyd Mayweather with a bum shoulder. With predictable results.
Pacquiao’s team had sort of mentioned that shoulder to the anti-doping agency, but the team wasn’t entirely forthcoming and sprang the news on the Nevada commission only at the last minute. It took a while to digest all these concealed facts, none of them good.
Recently 36-year-old Pacquiao, now 57-6-2, 38 KOs, was quoted saying that God and saltwater had healed his shoulder after surgery on the right rotator cuff. It was performed shortly after his unanimous decision loss to Mayweather on May 2.
Unfortunately God and saltwater didn’t do much in the way of refunding the $100 PPV fees that fans shelled out at home to see what turned out to be one of the least exciting prizefighting contests of the year. It was, in fact, a farce.
According to Pacquiao, the shoulder, injured weeks earlier in training, held up until the fourth round, when something snapped and the pain grew too intense for him to use it with serious intentions.
Lately his promoter Bob Arum began testing the waters for a Pacquiao showdown against the boxing world’s oft-ignored Amir Khan. Presumably any bout that might emerge from the negotiation shadows, whether it’s with Khan or anybody else, will once again be on pay-per-view.
But it’s not just the PPV nature of these events that’s galling. The entire spectacle was designed to fleece fans regardless of what they might or might not get in return, starting with that third-rate undercard.
Virtually all the tickets for seats in the MGM Grand had been scalped for many times their face value, and the two fight teams owned a big share of those scalping profits, politely misrepresented as the “secondary market.” What was announced as a $71 million live gate didn’t include those markups. That’s what you call phony accounting.
The crappy contest must have pulled in somewhere around half a billion dollars. Presumably they’re still counting it.
Meanwhile, we’re virtually guaranteed that during the media splash orchestrated for his next contest, Pacquiao will once again declare that his Number One priority is to please the fans, blah, blah, blah …
And Mayweather? He, of course, is set to go right back to the scene of the crime at the MGM Grand arena to fight a PPV tune-up against second-tier opponent Andre Berto on September 12. Mayweather, 38, had nothing to do with that broken-down shoulder of Pacquiao’s, but he should be held responsible for an excite-o-meter that registers somewhere in the somnolent zone for his contests, one fight after another.
On the other hand, maybe we should stop looking at these guys as fighters and see them as the industries they are. Look at Pacquiao’s official website and you’ll see what I mean.
There you can still buy Manny Pacquiao backpacks for $50 a shot, Manny Pacquiao t-shirts that range from $39 to $54 plus shipping and handling, and so on. An entire online junkshop of overpriced Chinese baubles.
Floyd’s official site, themoneyteam.com, features a photo of a delighted Floyd holding his many belts while a fluttering assortment of $100 bills floats next to him. All very tastefully done, of course.
The Pacquiao and Mayweather teams from time to time make noises about staging a rematch. And they’re not kidding.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available now from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.