Update: Pacquiao won a unanimous decision against Bradley and reiterated that he is retired “as of now.”
Manny Pacquiao squares off in the ring against Timothy Bradley Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Pacquiao says it will be his final bout, although many are skeptical, including his trainer Freddie Roach and long-time promoter Bob Arum. Pacquiao reiterated his stance at Wednesday’s press conference as he plans to focus on his political career with a senate election on the docket next month in the Philippines. “This is my last fight,” he said.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
If it is the end of the road, Saturday’s fight will wrap an extraordinary run where Pacquiao rose from living in a cardboard shack in the Philippines to one of the most marketable and bankable athletes on the planet who won world titles in a record eight divisions. The result after Saturday: Pacquiao will have earned $500 million from boxing purses and endorsements during his two-decade professional career.
Saturday night will be another blockbuster payday for Pacquiao with a guaranteed $20 million payout from the fight, according to Top Rank. His official purse is $7 million, but he’ll receive another $13 million shortly after the bout from Arum. Bradley is guaranteed $4 million for the bout. Saturday will be the tenth straight fight Pacquiao has earned at least $20 million, including his cut of TV money in the Philippines.
Pacquiao’s 21 pay-per-view bouts have generated 18 million buys and $1.2 billion in revenue. His last fight against Floyd Mayweather in May 2015 broke every financial record in boxing history, including 4.6 million PPV buys and total revenue of $600 million from PPV, tickets, international TV, sponsorships and merchandise. Pacquiao made $120 million for the fight with Mayweather pulling down a payday twice as big.
Pacquiao was not always a bankable PPV star. He turned pro in 1995 and fought almost exclusively in the Philippines for relative peanuts for six years. He received $20 for his first pro fight, according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael. Pacquiao’s first U.S. bout was in 2001 against Lehlohonolo Ledwaba. Pacquiao won to raise his record to 33-2 and reportedly received $40,000 for the fight.
His first PPV bout was in 2005 against Erik Morales. Pacquiao earned $1.75 million as the B-side in the fight, which generated 350,000 PPV buys and Morales won by unanimous decision. Pacquiao would redeem himself with a pair of victories by knockout against Morales in 2006.
Pacquiao’s profile and paycheck skyrocketed with his defeat of Oscar De La Hoya in 2008. The bout garnered 1.25 million PPV buys and Pacquiao earned $15 million, more than triple his previous top payday. His next eight fights averaged more than one million PPV buys and lined Pacquiao’s pockets.
Pacquiao’s endorsement career in the U.S. is finished though after comments in February comparing saying same-sex marriages were “worse than animals.” Nike quickly condemned Pacquiao and dropped him from their roster, ending its line of Pacquiao apparel (Nike previously dropped Pacquiao after a pair of defeats in 2012).
Saturday night marks the third meeting between Pacquiao and Bradley, who split their previous fights. Bradley won a controversial decision in 2012 and Pacquiao won handily in 2014. Saturday’s fight has little buzz after the mega-fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather disappointed many boxing fans and sidelined Pacquiao for post-fight surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
Win or lose on Saturday, Pacquiao’s legacy is already secured, both in and out of the ring.