There’s a lesson to be learned following the whole Mike Tyson-Roy Jones pay-per-view exhibition brouhaha this past Saturday. Well, there are actually many lessons to be learned, but the one most relevant to this particular article is, perhaps, the most cynical.
Lessons for Manny Pacquiao
Boxing fans will pay for nonsense, fluff, and plain silliness if it’s promoted properly and if it tickles their fancy the right way. Heck, they’ll even pay top dollar for a fight that is, really, NOT a fight and one where it’s been firmly established for weeks before hand that it wasn’t going to be a “real” fight.
This is not to say that fans are dumb or easily scammed. It’s just that fight fans see boxing as entertainment and they’ve prioritized entertainment over the “purity” of the actual sport. Judging by the buzz it generated and the mainstream attention it attracted, Tyson-Jones will most likely be a PPV success. It could, quite possibly, be the best selling boxing PPV of the year.
It would be silly to think that the powerbrokers deep in the real world of boxing aren’t paying attention to the lessons taught by Tyson-Jones and, for that matter, “boxing-light” events like Mayweather-McGregor as well as the popular run of YouTuber exhibitions bouts.
So, this is where Manny Pacquiao and his people come in.
With Pacquiao’s legacy firmly established and his Hall of Fame status confirmed years ago, there’s nothing really left on his “to do” list. All that remains at 41 years of age is a final run of “Thank Yous” to his fans and a fattening up of his retirement nest egg.
With just about a year left in his legendary career, Pacquiao way be wise to explore a run of high-profile exhibitions or novelty “real” fights rather than “legit” bouts.
The long-rumored fight with UFC star Conor McGregor would be the perfect fit for Pacquiao’s specific “farewell tour, victory lap” needs.
Realistically, Manny would make more money fighting McGregor than taking on any of the very best welterweights in the sport today (like Errol Spence and Terence Crawford) and would have an easier time doing so.
Business-wise, he may have an easier time as well, since he and McGregor now share the same manager (although the UFC, which still has a contract on McGregor, may need to be paid off generously). As a matter of fact, their manager is all but guaranteeing that the fight WILL happen.
“Conor has a fight Jan. 23 against Dustin Poirier,” Audie Attar of Paradigm Sports Management said in an interview with Bloomberg. “He’s gonna be handling business against Dustin first, but Conor’s come out and said he wants to fight Manny. Manny’s come out and said he wants to fight Conor. As I’ve stated publicly before, we’ve had conversations.
“That is a fight that we’re definitely going to make because both fighters want it, and there seems to be interest from the fans all around the world.”
And there are plenty of other options to be explored while a mega-bucks McGregor is set up and properly promoted.
Manny could take on a bevy of UFC battlers as a lead-in to McGregor. The curiosity aspect would make blockbusters of these fairly safe encounters and they’d be significantly more lucrative than what he could find in the tier of boxing opponents just below Crawford and Spence.
So, again, with nothing left to prove in the deep end of the present tense boxing world, why not go for some showbiz in his final run? Manny has certainly earned that right and, as we’ve seen with the Tyson-Jones exhibition, the public would probably be more than happy to buy into this type of farewell run.