In the biggest professional boxing bout on Chinese soil, Philippine hero Manny Pacquiao will launch his comeback in Macau in November.
Pacquiao will battle former WBA lightweight champion, American Brandon Rios, at the 15,000-seat Venetian Cotai Arena in Macau, which is now being seen as a preferred alternative venue to Las Vegas - with boxers able to avoid high US taxes.
Veteran promoter Bob Arum said United States taxes would subtract up to 40 per cent of the purse. Pacquiao earned US$26 million from his last fight and he is expected to earn a similar figure against Rios.
"We think it opens a tremendous market in China because it enables us to do pay-per-view there in ways that we haven't done before," said Arum, adding Macau had beaten Singapore for the right to host the fight.
"We want to get the people a really good, exciting action fight. Rios is an exciting fighter, so it's a good match-up."
Arum is convinced Macau can generate a large purse because the fight would result in more gambling revenue for the casino as it did for Pacquiao's previous fight, which was a sell-out. The Pacquiao-Rios fight will be held one week after the gambling city hosts the 60th annual Macau Grand Prix, giving the former Portuguese enclave two major sporting events in two weeks.
It is understood the Pacquiao-Rios fight will be held in the morning on November 24 in order to keep the Saturday night pay-per-view audience from North America.
Arum said last month that Macau would be the perfect venue for major fights because the city pulls in more gambling revenue than Las Vegas.
"Why do you think all the top fights are held in Las Vegas? It's because it attracts gamblers and that means revenue for the casinos," said Arum.
"Macau has been described to me as Las Vegas on steroids and it would make sense to have future title fights in Macau."
Pacquiao and Rios are each coming off losses, but Arum said the desire to match the two punchers against each other was impossible to resist and should produce a big audience.
"We felt with Rios, based on his past of being an 'active' competitor would make this a great fight against Manny," Arum said. "It's a fight people want to see. Most boxing fans want to see guys mix it up.
"There's a school of fan who wants to see artistic fights, but we felt they also want to see a knock-down, drag-out action fight."
MCT, Associated Press