Arum: Gambling $ key to Pacquiao-Marquez 5

January, 16, 2013
1/16/13
4:23
PM ET
Bob Arum is a dream interview in that he works without the sort of filter a reporter is used to dealing with. The Brooklyn-born dealmaker lives in Vegas now, but he still has that NYC bite, and candor. It was on display at the Kingsway Gym in NYC on Wednesday, as he chatted about the Saturday-night show he is co-promoting, with K2, at the Madison Square Garden Theater. That card is topped by a scrap between WBO featherweight champ Orlando Salido and Mikey Garcia, as well as a meetup between WBO middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin and Gabriel Rosado, and a fight between WBO junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez against challenger Juan Carlos Burgos. All three bouts will run on HBO.

Arum was talking about where the next Manny Pacquiao fight might land. Macau? Singapore? Mexico City? All were discussed, as he talked about what might be next for the 34-year-old hitter, who tasted defeat at the hands of rival Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8.

Arum made clear that the fight would not take place in the Philippines, Manny’s homeland, because the economy won't support the high ticket prices that fly in Vegas and some other parts of the world.

“Mexico City has a very affluent group there,” he said, and mentioned that the government’s possible willingness to subsidize the promotion, to help lure the prized face-off, could play into the decision on where it will land. The leaders in Macau, he said, also might be willing to sweeten the pot to land the bout.

Arum said that gambling money looms large in choosing where to place a mega-bout. UFC in November ran in Macau, in a 6,000-seat venue, and the casinos there did $28 million more in business than on a typical Saturday night, according to Arum. “They want these fights,” he said. “The high rollers ... They’re the ones with the money and the gambling addiction.”

Two casinos in Singapore, Arum said, make more annually than all the casinos in Nevada combined. A fight in Macau, half a day ahead of us, would actually work, Arum said, because the gamblers there don’t care what time it is, so a Pacquiao-Marquez bout could be staged there on a Sunday morning.

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Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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