Philippines, Sports, television

No More: Solar Sports Not Involved in Pacquiao Fight vs. Matthysse

For the first time since 2006, a new Manny Pacquiao fight was not aired on Solar Sports.

Manny Pacquiao’s latest bout, a seventh round knockout win over Lucas Matthysse to capture the WBA Welterweight Title, was conspicuously absent from Solar Sports programming. The reason: MP Productions, led by Arnold Vegafria, chose not to sign a broadcast deal with Solar Sports for the aforementioned event.

The last time Solar Sports was not involved in the broadcast of a Manny Pacquiao fight was in 2006. That year, ABS-CBN exclusively aired Pacquiao’s fight with Oscar Larios which took place in the Philippines.

In the months leading up to the bout, Solar Sports aired some of Pacquiao’s classic matches every Friday night in hopes of getting a call from Arnold Vegafria. But when the network announced its upcoming list of programs for July 2018, Pacquiao vs. Matthysse was nowhere to be found.

No reason was given behind MP Productions’ decision. However, considering that Solar Sports is now airing less popular sporting events and the circumstances that followed Pacquiao’s loss to Jeff Horn last year, it only made sense for MP to cease ties with the said network.

On a related note, MP was able to secure television deals with ABS-CBN, The 5 Network, GMA, SkyCable and Cignal for the broadcast and distribution of Pacquiao vs. Matthysse. This marked the first time since the heavily-hyped Pacquiao bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015 that the Philippines’ three broadcast giants collaborated for the occasion.

Luckily for the three networks, Pacquiao secured his first knockout victory since 2009. The win came as a surprise to many considering Pacquiao’s age (the fighting senator is 39), his lack of power punching ability relative to his age, and his decision not to have long-time confidant Freddie Roach as his trainer for the bout.

Unfortunately for Solar Sports, Pacquiao’s victory was not only a lost opportunity but also the last straw. Manny Pacquiao bouts had been Solar Sports’ last ticket to relevance in recent years, but without him and his drawing power, the network is now fighting for survival.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Little Noise for #PacBradIII

Sunday may be Pacquiao vs. Bradley III, but it seems as if there is not much to talk about.

While a fight involving Manny Pacquiao usually equals to ‘national holiday’ in the Philippines, his third match with Timothy Bradley will be something else. One month after the bout with Bradley, Pacquiao’s status as a politician will be on the line, as he guns for one of the 12 seats in the Philippine Senate.

Any promotional material that exceeds the limits set by the Fair Elections Act of the Commission of Elections may lead to a national candidate’s disqualification. Thus, with Pacquiao also running for Senator in this May’s elections, very little promotion was made for the fight here in the Philippines.

COMELEC, on its part, has allowed the fight to be aired here, since they received no formal complaints in relation to his candidacy. Despite that, the only known mention of a blow-by-blow multi-platform coverage is through a series of promotional videos from Solar Sports (see example below) and an announcement made by GMA online.

That said, in order to comply with the Fair Elections Act, neither Solar Sports nor GMA were able to aggressively promote the fight. Instead, they made use of news clips to inform viewers of the two fighters and the event itself.

With so little noise, not to mention Pacquiao’s controversial remarks on the LGBT community in February, the third installment of Pacquiao vs. Bradley is expected to be the least hyped of them all. The expectation that Pacquiao is using the fight just to gain the voters’ confidence may convince them not to watch the fight at all, because it may hurt the chances of other, more deserving candidates.

On Sunday, Pacquiao steps into the ring for perhaps the final time. But the question is, will you watch?

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