Pacquiao to be paid on ‘percentage’ while Vargas earns career-high payday

Ryan Songalia

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Pacquiao to be paid on ‘percentage’ while Vargas earns career-high payday
WBO welterweight champ Jessie Vargas will make his biggest payday yet while Pacquiao's purse is 'virtually on percentage'

LAS VEGAS, USA – While Jessie Vargas knows how much he’ll be depositing in the bank, his challenger Manny Pacquiao won’t know until after the receipts are tallied.

Top Rank boss Bob Arum revealed that Vargas, the defending WBO welterweight champion, will make $2.8 million for his first title defense, which takes place at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, where he was raised. Pacquiao, he says, will make almost all of his purse from the proceeds from the fight.

“Manny is virtually on percentage. So whatever figure they put on the contract is meaningless because most of the money earned in this fight goes to Pacquiao,” said Arum.

The fight will be Pacquiao’s first fight to not be distributed by either HBO or Showtime, the two premier American networks which cater to boxing audiences, since his 2007 fight against Jorge Solis. HBO had passed on the November 5 date offered by Top Rank, which was the lone available date which worked around Pacquiao’s duties as a Philippine senator, stating that they did not want to conflict with the Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight championship pay-per-view they are distributing on November 19.

The Pacquiao vs Vargas pay-per-view is being produced and distributed independently by Top Rank for a retail price of $59.99 in the United States. The fight will be shown in the Philippines on Solar Sports via satellite.

Long-time boxing commentator Brian Kenny, who previously called fights for ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” and some international broadcasts for Top Rank, will call the fight alongside Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s “First Take” and former world champion Timothy Bradley Jr, who has fought both Pacquiao (3 times) and Vargas.

Arum has told reporters that cutting out the middle man would save them the 7.5% fee from net proceeds that go in HBO’s pockets, and remained optimistic that the “very, very big” numbers despite Vargas’ relative anonymity.

If all goes well, he says this could be the way of the future for distributing pay-per-view fights.

“As far as pay-per-view is concerned, that’s not [the networks’] business but it’s become their business. It’s sort of silly for them to be involved in that. I would hope to talk them out of it, except for something like a major [Floyd] Mayweather-Pacquiao where they’re needed. Otherwise they’re not needed,” added Arum.

A source at Top Rank told Rappler that tickets for the fight would be “sold out, or close to it by Saturday” but did not have a projection for pay-per-view buys yet.

Freddie Roach, who trains Pacquiao, said at Thursday’s roundtable that he believes Pacquiao has used the snub from the major networks to fuel himself ahead of this fight.

“I think he’s a little bit motivated by that, that HBO and Showtime, the bigger companies didn’t give him a date. I think he’s used that for his own good,” said Roach.

“I’m sure they have their reasons but with Bob, he’s doing this on his own and we don’t have to worry about HBO.” –

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