Manny Pacquiao may still be one of the most recognizable fighters in the world but he is no longer the big shot on the block. The future Hall of Famer thought that he could bypass plans for him to begin a world tour against somebody named Jeff Horn by chasing a lucrative offer to face Amir Khan in the UAE against the wishes of boss Bob Arum.
Pacquiao and adviser Michael Koncz decided to go off the reservation to secure a fight that had an alleged purse of $38 million while at the same time compromising whatever deal was in process with Horn’s people in Australia. Just like every other fight that has mysterious investors in the UAE, it was all lip service and Pacquiao was back to square one and presumably right back to Jeff Horn.
The April date is now off the table but has been replaced by a better and more high-profile fight between Shawn Porter and Andre Berto to cap off the demoralizing turn of events for Team Pacquiao.
It really is a sign of the times for Pacquiao. It seemed that it was once upon a time he was the toast of the town and people would line up to take a beating and collect a paycheck, but like the era Pacquiao represents, those days are further and further away.
Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime Boxing have all but taken over as the face of the sport as HBO Boxing, long considered the gold standard of the sport for many years, is dwindling into obscurity by sticking to an antiquated business model by relying on pay per views and squash matches on their regular networks barring few exceptions.
Not only that, but fighters and their teams are acknowledging that low risk/high reward is not achievable in this transitional state of the sport outside of a select few fighters and that if they want the spoils, they need the war. Pacquiao has been trying to skirt away from that, hoping to continue to rely on his team to get the best bang for his buck as his career comes to a close, but those options may not be there anymore.
A fight with Khan would be big anywhere, anytime, but there is no way Pacquiao and Khan will be splitting a $38 million purse. Outside of Pacquiao taking said risk against guys like Terence Crawford, Saul Alvarez or Keith Thurman, who really cares about him at this point of his career?
Pacquiao continues to await his foe and return date, now aiming for June against Horn, but there’s no guarantee that there will be anybody there waiting for him when it comes.