Manny Pacquiao prefers to square off for the fifth time against arch-rival Juan Manuel Márquez in China rather than the traditional site in Las Vegas. The prospective move makes a lot of practical sense from a business standpoint.
The amount of money cut out of the paycheck is too substantial, and the offshore gambling resort of Macau is reportedly the favorite to host the epic clash.
According to a piece by Yahoo! reporters Martin Rogers and Kevin Iole, Pac-Man's chief adviser, Michael Koncz, indicated that the 39.6 federal tax rate in the U.S. was too costly.
Promoter Bob Arum—who is planning the fight for Sept. 14, on Mexican Independence Day weekend—provided the reasoning behind Pacquiao's preference:
Manny can go back to Las Vegas and make $25 million, but how much of it will he end up with – $15 million? 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.
The announcement that Pacquiao wouldn't fight in Vegas or any U.S. city anymore came on Friday (via The Washington Examiner).
Boxing isn't the most popular sport in China by a long shot. By bringing one of the marquee rivalries in the sport's history to the biggest country in the world, it would help expand the brands of Pacquiao, Márquez and boxing in general.
That's the rationale that Koncz provides, as he notes that Pac-Man has fought in the U.S. exclusively for so long, and could benefit business-wise from the change in scenery.
One might play the "first world problems" argument card here, as if taking home $15 million as opposed to $25 million is such a tragedy.
As Rogers and Iole point out, the pay-per-view sales in North America would also drop by about 50 percent, which would be a detriment to Arum—but it's a $10 million blow he could easily absorb.
With so many stars in the sport struggling with finances and living beyond the means of their immense fortunes—Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, to name a couple in recent memory—it's understandable that Pacquiao would want to have a bit of a cushion.
Pacquiao's prior gambling addiction nearly cost him all of his money. He had to have Arum help him pay his hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt "five or six times," according to a June feature story from Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix.
The fast lifestyle that Pac-Man was living is now in the rear view mirror in the midst of a spiritual awakening, and it makes sense that he values money now. Koncz also explained that Pacquiao's window to fight is closing, and the priorities have changed since he may only have one left in him.
Singapore was also mentioned as a stellar alternative to Macau, but the Chinese hotspot has raked in far more revenue than even the most prominent Vegas casinos.
No matter where this fight is held, there will be no shortage of hype and eager anticipation. Márquez knocked out Pacquiao in the sixth round of their last bout after the prior three encounters went the full 12 rounds.
This matchup is obviously going to be a big draw with the Vegas crowd, and would likely be held once again at the MGM Grand.
But the upside of gaining fanfare and holding onto all the money justifies Pacquiao's preference for Macau. It will be great location to foster what promises to be yet another thriller between the two future Hall of Famers—and in all likelihood the final time they will take to the ring together.