Manny Pacquiao, boxing's second-biggest attraction, will take his act on the road again on Nov. 22, when he defends his WBO welterweight title against Chris Algieri at the Cotai Arena in the Venetian in Macau, China.
Pacquiao defeated Brandon Rios in Macau on Nov. 23, 2013, in the first HBO Pay-Per-View bout from outside of the U.S. The Filipino star is coming off an April victory in a rematch over Timothy Bradley.
Algieri earned the bout by scoring an upset of Ruslan Provodnikov in a WBO super lightweight bout on June 14 at the Barclays Center in New York. Landing a fight with Pacquiao is a startling rise for Algieri, who began 2014 as a virtual unknown while fighting on ESPN2 Friday Night FIghts shows.
A former kickboxing champion, Algieri is 20-0 with eight knockouts.
The fight likely won't do a massive number on pay-per-view, but promoter Bob Arum has repeatedly said he's not worried about that. The fee the Venetian pays to land Pacquiao will more than cover the shortfall in pay-per-view revenue.
Fights that are held outside of the U.S., particularly in an international venue, tend to have dramatically lower pay-per-view sales or television ratings. The Pacquiao-Rios bout sold only around 450,000 buys, much lower than Pacquiao had been doing. But upon his return to the U.S., he did roughly 750,000 sales with Bradley in April.
Pacquiao, who has won two in a row after suffering back-to-back defeats in 2012 to Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, is 56-5-2 with 38 knockouts.
Top Rank is developing a relationship with the Venetian and is hosting a show there on Saturday that will be broadcast live on HBO 2. The main event of that show will be two-time Olympic gold medalst Zou Shiming of China in his first 10-round bout against Luis De La Rosa.
Ed Tracy, the president and CEO of Sands China Ltd., told Yahoo Sports last year that the Venetian wanted to host several smaller regional shows a year with one major card featuring a well-known boxer such as Pacquiao.
Bob signed Shiming and I agreed to be the venue sponsor for his first fight. That went better than we expected. We made a deal for his second fight, and that was better than the first. It was at that second fight that Bob and I were talking and he asked me, 'What do you really want to do with boxing?' And I said, 'I want a shot at Pacquiao.' We talked about it a lot, and before the fight ended that night, we had a handshake deal to pursue the Pacquiao strategy.
It's a fairly simple strategy, in my view. We have a continent in China with a billion more people than the U.S. There is a great hunger and thirst there for content; they want to be entertained. And why not boxing? We had already signed a deal with the UFC and we were interested in the fight business and bringing it to China. So it was kind of a natural.
As a result, Top Rank has been bringing fights to China on a regular basis since. Arum has said it is possible he will also put cards in mainland China, as well.