We're going to find out two things about Manny Pacquiao once we see the result and learn the pay-per-view buys from his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez: Whether or not Pac-Man is still an elite fighter, and how much drawing power he has left.
I'm guessing Pacquiao will win, but the PPV buys will be slightly disappointing. That means Pac-Man is no longer the tour de force as a main draw, and he'll need a superfight with Floyd Mayweather if he wants to earn one last epic split.
According to Forbes, Pacquiao earned $56 million in winnings from June 2011 to June 2012, and $6 million in endorsements.
However, his recent fights have hardly been dominant, and if he loses to Marquez, he's going to lose appeal as a main draw. His 2013 earnings could take a serious hit in the process.
With that being said, even if he loses to Marquez and takes a good deal of shine off the potential fight between he and Mayweather, that fight will still post huge buys (if it actually happens). HUGE buys.
Mayweather would certainly negotiate more than a 55-45 split, but it won't matter—Pac-Man will get his.
If Pacquiao beats Marquez, the 55-45 split that has been proposed will remain intact and the buys would be astronomical. Honestly, they would probably be the largest in history by a comfortable margin. I've never bought a PPV for myself, but I would certainly buy that one.
We all know Pac-Man is slowly shifting his priorities from boxing to politics. Surely, he has the money to retire from boxing, live comfortably and pursue his other interests. Pacquiao is never going to be the sad, over-the-hump boxer fighting in shoddy bouts because he only defines himself as a fighter and just wants to earn some scratch.
You could argue that mentality has cost him some of his edge. If he doesn't clearly beat Marquez, it's going to hurt him in the wallet, too.
That means the Mayweather fight is his "Get Out of Weak Purses Free" card. His guaranteed money grab. His ace in the hole. His last hurrah.
I'm done now.
The point is, Pacquiao's value is going to steadily drop from here. The Bradley fight—unjustified as the result was—proved his vulnerability. A loss to Marquez will expedite his drop in earning potential, but it's going to decline regardless.
His next fight must be against Mayweather. If it doesn't happen in 2013, it's never going to happen. And that means Pac-Man will be forced to leave a boatload of money on the table.
Pacquiao is too smart to let that happen. He'll fight Mayweather and cash out. It's the logical move for a fighter who will soon move to the next stage in his life.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are worth their weight in gold. Which is equivalent to no gold, since tweets don't weigh anything. Darn.