Manny Pacquiao remains a hot draw.
Tickets went on sale Monday for Pacquiao's fight with Shane Mosley on May 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In three hours, nearly 16,000 tickets were sold, making it a near-sellout.
"Incredible. Simply incredible," Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said in a statement. "I have never promoted a fight that has sold so many tickets so quickly.
"Manny Pacquiao never ceases to amaze the world with his achievements. The excitement he generated today with the initial ticket sales makes it feel like fight week already."
Is it really shocking, or should we have expected this? Like most subjects related with Pacquiao, it will likely cause plenty of debate. Here are five reasons it is shocking, and five why it isn't:
Fans are being given the opportunity to see the pound-for-pound champ take on an opponent who used to be the best and who is 0-1-1 in his last two fights.
Remind me again why that's appealing.
Perhaps it's the Tyson factor: Fans want to come and see Pacquiao steamroll through another opponent like Mike Tyson used to knock out the bums he faced back in the 1980s.
Rivalries are easy sells, and so are great title fights like Trinidad-Hopkins, De La Hoya-Vargas and De La Hoya-Mayweather.
On the surface, this doesn't make sense that this fight will take place in front of a packed house.
That first weekend in May has become a perfect weekend, and popular one, in which to stage fights.
It falls right after Cinco de Mayo, and promoter Bob Arum has always used it to appeal to Hispanic fight fans who enjoy taking in fights while celebrating the holiday.
The May 7 date also falls at a time when it won't be competing against other major sporting events. The Masters and NCAA men's basketball tournament will be in April, baseball will just be getting started and the NBA Finals won't be then, either.
Since they couldn't make the Floyd Mayweather fight, and since the spat with Golden Boy Promotions kept a third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez from happening, this is what fight fans had to settle for.
And still they're gobbling up tickets.
This to me is the equivalent of planning a big night out with friends, having reservations for a great steakhouse, then finding out it's booked and settling for Applebee's when there's still so many other alternatives available.
If I'm going to stop down and watch Pacquiao, I want to know my tickets I buy (or pay-per-view I purchase) is money well spent.
I don't want to end up throwing $50 out the window just to watch him blast Mosley in the fifth round, or basically go the distance and pitch a shutout. That's not entertaining.
If there's one thing you can count on, it's Pacquiao's enormous Filipino fanbase that flock to his fights.
Something tells me they've gobbled these tickets up and will be there en masse to cheer on their countryman to victory.
That's fine if that's the case. I have no problem with people flocking to see their hero.
Most will agree that Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are the two most talented fighters of this generation.
Mayweather won a lopsided decision over Mosley last year, and now Mosley will be facing someone who has the same kind of speed, can take a punch and is just as smart.
With that in mind, how can you not expect this to be another lopsided decision?
You can't tell me the comparisons won't be made, either: I'd be willing to bet Mayweather fans will tune in and pounce at the chance to point out Pacquiao's flaws.
In fairness, I'm sure Manny's fans are wanting him to pitch a shutout and avoid a knockdown like Mayweather had with Mosley, so they can one-up his fans and say he had a better performance.
It may not be the fight fans wanted, but they will get the chance to see two future Hall of Famers square off in the ring.
Mosley may be past his prime, but he is a former world champion who's defeated the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, John John Molina, Fernando Vargas and Antonio Margarito.
Combined, Mosley and Pacquiao have 98 career victories.
A near sellout is pretty stunning, considering this fight was ripped by fans and the media.
One longtime boxing expert called the fight "garbage," and even some Pacquiao fans said they were disappointed that he chose this fight.
Now it will be interesting to see what the pay-per-view numbers will be.
Pacquiao's not a youngster. He's only got so many fights left in him, and he's already got another career in politics he is actively involved in.
The clock is ticking, and I'm sure fans are trying to pounce at the chance to see him whenever they get the chance. Fact is, those like him and Mayweather come along once in a generation.
Here's how I know this fight had problems: Everyone in Pacquiao's camp didn't know how to respond to the criticism.
Pacquiao himself couldn't make a strong case for the fight when he wrote a column for a Filipino boxing website. Arum, who had been quoted as saying Shane Mosley was too old to face Pacquiao, changed his tune, and later tried to convince people he was the first fighter to really test Mayweather in his career.
Even Mayweather fans should find that laughable and admit the first fight between him and Jose Luis Castillo was extremely close and competitive (we'll argue about whether Castillo got robbed another time).
Then came Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, who decided the best approach would be condescension and sarcasm towards those who would dare criticize his fighter for facing Mosley.
It's hard to imagine it being with Shane Mosley, but eventually there will be a fight where Manny Pacquiao will be put to the test again and have to perform well in the championship rounds.
He may even get involved in another slugfest.
If that's the case, and you're a fan, you'll hit the jackpot.
There's no doubt that Manny Pacquiao is an icon in the Philippines and pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, but it makes no sense to me why this is almost a sellout.
There may be a slim chance it becomes a competitive fight, but Mosley doesn't have the same speed and power he once did, and Pacquiao at his best will be too much for Mosley to handle.
I'd save my money, and invest it when Pacquiao finally faces someone who would be a true test, or at least is a compelling matchup.