Why Pacquiao may never fight in U.S. again

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao’s chief adviser insisted Monday that the Filipino superstar’s preference is for his next bout – a fifth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez – to take place away from Las Vegas, with the off-shore Chinese gambling resort of Macau emerging as the “favorite.”
The last fight between Manny Pacquiao (right) and Juan Manuel Marquez (left) was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Net photo.
The last fight between Manny Pacquiao (right) and Juan Manuel Marquez (left) was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Net photo.

LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao’s chief adviser insisted Monday that the Filipino superstar’s preference is for his next bout – a fifth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez – to take place away from Las Vegas, with the off-shore Chinese gambling resort of Macau emerging as the “favorite.”

Michael Koncz told Yahoo! Sports that the 39.6 percent tax rate Pacquiao would face if he were to fight again in the U.S. makes a fall bout in Las Vegas “a no go.”

Promoter Bob Arum is hopeful of arranging a fifth match between Pacquiao and Marquez in the fall, potentially on Sept. 14. Arum’s preference is for the fight to be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which is his company’s home base.

But Arum and Koncz say Pacquiao is balking at the additional money he’d lose to the government if the fight were held in Las Vegas. Arum said Pacquiao would not have to pay taxes if the fight takes place in casinos in either Singapore or Macau.

“Manny can go back to Las Vegas and make $25 million, but how much of it will he end up with – $15 million?” Arum said. “If he goes to Macau, perhaps his purse will only be $20 million, but he will get to keep it all, so he will be better off.”

While avoiding a huge tax bill would be a benefit to Pacquiao, it would hurt Arum in terms of pay-per-view sales. Arum said a detailed review indicates that a pay-per-view bout emanating outside of North America would do about 50 percent fewer sales.

At the numbers a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez fight would generate, that is a staggering loss. Pacquiao-Marquez 4, in which Marquez knocked Pacquiao out in the sixth round on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, sold 1.15 million on pay-per-view.

The fifth fight figures to be at least as big, if not larger. At 1.15 million sales, the gross revenue from pay-per-view would be $69 million. The cable and satellite companies, which distribute the bout, get half of that off the top, leaving $34.5 million to the promotional side.

A 50 percent cut would mean a decrease in revenue to the promotion of $17.25 million.

While Pacquiao seems set in preferring to fight in Asia because of taxes, Arum conceded that hasn’t been an issue for Marquez. “Juan hasn’t expressed the same concern about U.S. taxes that Manny has,” Arum said.

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