Bad breakups are among the worst things in life. It’s right up there with losing your wallet that’s stuffed with your driver’s license, ATM, and credit cards. Or when your dog dies. Appearing to be headed in that same terrible, gloomy direction is Manny Pacquiao and his longtime boxing promoter Top Rank, particularly the head honcho, Bob Arum. A contract dispute currently has the two set up for a bitter severance of ties.
Basically, Team Pacquiao is saying that Manny’s Top Rank contract has already expired, thus he can book his own fights as a free agent just like he’s doing now, in partnership with Golden Boy promotions, for a yet to be finalized bout with Lucas Mathysse. On the other corner is Bob Arum adamantly stating he’s got a say in it all because Manny’s still bound by his contractual obligations with Top Rank.
We really don’t know who’s being accurate here, but we’re seeing a spiteful conflict that will likely lead to an acrimonious divorce. When that happens, one party will be all smiles and the other will end up sulking. To find out which is which, we’ve got to answer this question: Which side will lose more and gain less when Manny and Top Rank finally part ways?
In Bob Arum's case
Parting ways with Manny means that Top Rank will no longer be stressed out pleasing an aging superstar, especially one who’s immersed in so many non-boxing related activities and has no punctuality to speak of due to a ridiculously hectic schedule. Instead of dealing with that headache, Top Rank can focus its full energy on building up other marquee fighters such as Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford, who both deserve the same type of attention that Manny enjoyed back in the day. Top Rank could also save itself from being associated with the inevitable downfall of an old champion (who just doesn’t know when to quit). At 39, Manny is clearly past his prime and overstaying in the sport could render an ugly ending to his fabulous career. Being a part of that dreadful scenario will definitely be a bad look for Top Rank and Arum. Not having a stubborn old champion like Manny on the Top Rank roster would relieve them of that burden.
On the other hand, losing Manny will cost Bob Arum millions of dollars. Yes, Top Rank made a crazy fortune during Pacquiao’s heyday, but there’s still a considerable amount of money left to be made riding the Pac train even at this point of the Filipino legend’s career. For one, Manny is still a big name in boxing. News of his upcoming fights still make the headlines, right? Plus, Manny’s maintained a strong following, especially in the East. In the right setting, a Pacquiao fight in 2018 still can reap a relatively massive earning. Lastly, packaging Manny’s remaining fights as sort of a farewell tour or pitting him in a passing of the torch type of megafight, versus a Lomachenko or a Terence Crawford, is undeniably a lucrative marketing ploy. To not cash in on those grand opportunities will be a crushing blow to Bob Arum’s money-driven gut.
In Manny's case
With Top Rank and Bob Arum out of the picture, Manny becomes his own boss. He can pick and choose the exact fights he wants. When, where, how much and who he fights next will be under his control to an extent he never experienced while he was employed under Top Rank. You really can’t put a price on having the luxury to be in command of your own destiny and that’s what the Pacman seems to have realized in this late stage of his boxing life. Taking a page out of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s business plan might not be too late for Pac. With Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy promotions stepping in, as they are doing now for the tentative June 24 Pacquiao-Mathysse bout in Kula Lumpur, there’s even a chance Manny won’t feel any ill-effects of losing Top Rank’s machinery. Manny Pacquiao partnering with a top-tier boxing promoter like Golden Boy has profit written all over it. When it comes to raking in the big bucks, Manny can certainly do just fine or even better without Top Rank.
Cutting ties with Top Rank does have one major drawback. For Manny, it’ll be a separation from a business partner who has mastered his tendencies and perfectly knows how to cater to his needs. Failing to find another camp that will pamper him the way Top Rank did could frustrate and ultimately distract Manny off of the boxing match at hand. It’s all good now between Pac and Oscar but when things get rough, like that time when Manny had his multi-million IRS problems, no one knows if the Golden Boy will stand by his newfound friend. Jumping off the Top Rank ship is definitely a risk but at this point, it looks like a risk that Manny’s willing to take.
We’re rooting for Manny to come out victorious in this murky situation. And it looks like he’s on his way to doing so. Unless of course, Bob Arum fires off those bank account-draining lawsuits—now that's a totally different story altogether.