The Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse fight, which had been in jeopardy for the past several weeks over financing issues, is a go.
Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN on Monday that the money due in an escrow account to be paid after the fight had finally come through in full and that Matthysse and his team will fly Tuesday from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the fight.
Though several deadlines had been missed for the deposit, Monday was really the last one possible because Matthysse wanted to be on site two weeks before the fight to give himself time to get used to the time change. So had the money not come through on Monday the fight would have been off.
Matthysse is due to defend his secondary welterweight world title against Pacquiao, the Filipino legend, on July 15 (July 14 United States time) at the Axiata Arena.
“The fight’s a go. There were some bumps in the road but everything is now in order and we’re excited. It’s a great opportunity for Lucas,” Gomez said. “This is his dream fight. It’s the fight he’s been talking about for five years now. Anytime you can fight a legend like Manny Pacquiao it’s a win.
“The money is in place. The money was supposed to be in an escrow account in the U.S. and now everything is good. It’s customary practice when you are fighting overseas to have the money in an escrow account and now the money is there. We’re excited to be working with Manny and his company, MP Promotions, and commend him for putting this fight together and making sure it comes off.”
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, Gomez said. Matthysse said he is excited for the fight and never doubted the money would be put into place.
“I didn’t really pay attention to it, but I saw the headlines,” Matthysse told ESPN, through a translator, about the money issues. “I read a little bit about it, but I just kept training with the same desire I always have. I knew the fight would happen so I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on. I feel good and I am happy to be heading out there to Malaysia to defend my title.”
Top Rank, Pacquiao’s longtime promoter, is not promoting this event, but it is handling the American television deal and distribution. MP Promotions also missed several deadlines for that funding, which was meant to cover production costs, commercial and marketing costs and other aspects of the fight — such as shipping Pacquiao’s preferred boxing ring from the United States to Malaysia. Arum told ESPN on that the funding for that had also come through.
“That money paid last week to Top Rank, anywhere between $350,000 and $500,000,” he said. “We then immediately [went] to contract with Manny’s company, which would enable the fight to push forward in the U.S. for the telecast.”
The fight was initially going to be an ESPN pay-per-view event, but with the deadlines for the financing missed so too were deadlines within the pay-per-view industry.
Arum said now he is working with ESPN to get the broadcast situated either on ESPN or ESPN+.
“ESPN is up to speed on everything,” Arum said, noting that it was 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 lean-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.
Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs), 35, a big puncher from Argentina who trains in Indio, California, claimed a vacant secondary welterweight title on Jan. 27 with an eighth-round knockout of Thailand’s obscure Tewa Kiram and will be making his first defense against Pacquiao.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), 39, a senator in the Philippines, is boxing’s only eight-division world champion and will be fighting for the first time losing a highly controversial decision, and his welterweight world title, to Jeff Horn last July in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Pacquiao thought about retirement after the fight with Horn, but he decided to continue his career and sought out a fight with Matthysse.
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