It’s been two months since the official announcement of Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) taking on Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) in Malaysia, but there has been lingering doubt over whether or not the fight would actually happen. Now we finally have confirmation that the fight will go as planned for July 15th (July 14th in the United States).
This event is being organized by Pacquiao’s own promotional company MP Promotions, as opposed to Top Rank Boxing, Pacquiao’s long time promoter. Financial issues nearly led to the event’s cancellation, but that has since been resolved.
An initial payment of $500,000 was made to the Golden Boy/Matthysse camp when the fight was signed to help pay for things such as Matthysse’s training camp as well as travel to the Philippines and Malaysia for the media tour. But MP Promotions missed several deadlines over the past two months to fully fund $2 million to the escrow account, according to a source.
Last week more of the money was wired to the account and on Monday the rest was in place, [Golden Boy Promotions president] Eric Gomez said. Matthysse said he is excited for the fight and never doubted the money would be put into place.
A group of investors approached the eight-division world champion about having his next fight in the Malaysian capital, which brought back memories of the ill-fated Pacquiao vs. Amir Khan in Abu Dhabi plan.
Top Rank may not be promoting this particular fight, which is for Matthysse’s secondary WBA welterweight title, but they are in charge of US television. MP Promotions made a mess of other deadlines, which killed any chance of this being on pay-per-view.
With no US broadcast deal announced yet, Bob Arum says that ESPN and ESPN+ are both potential homes for the bout.
“ESPN is up to speed on everything,” Arum said, noting that it is up to the network to decide whether the card would air on ESPN or on the ESPN+ streaming service. “When the contract is signed with Manny and his company, then ESPN will announce what its plans are for the fight.”
There is a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card beginning at 7 p.m. ET on July 14, headlined by No. 1 junior welterweight Regis Prograis taking on Juan Jose Velasco in the main event in New Orleans. It was scheduled for that time because it was supposed to serve as a lead-in to what was supposed to be a Pacquiao-Matthysse pay-per-view. Now the card may just lead in to an ESPN or ESPN+ broadcast of the card in Malaysia, Arum said.
”Our card in New Orleans will be over by 9 p.m. ET and ESPN could go with Manny’s undercard like it would be a normal telecast at that time and make it a night of boxing,” Arum said.
That’s right, there’s a chance that Pacquiao has reached the “I’m fighting on ESPN+” phase of his career, three years removed from the richest fight in boxing history vs. Floyd Mayweather. Either way, Bloody Elbow will have coverage of this card.