Manny, many, money
1. The Clash, Manny Pacquiao versus Brandon Rios on Sunday will be the largest boxing event ever in Asia in terms of revenue and audience. According to a recent SCMP report, the “Clash in Cotai will carry the largest-ever purse for a boxing event in Asia, surpassing the Mike Tyson vs James ‘Buster’ Douglas heavyweight title fight in Tokyo in 1990.”
In one of the biggest turn-arounds in fight history, Douglas the underdog knocked out mighty Tyson. At that time, “Iron” Mike banked USD6 million, while “Buster” Douglas made $1.3 million. In the history of top boxing in Asia, we have to go back to 1975 and the third and final boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, The Thrilla in Manila, won by Ali (Cassius Clay).
Now, recent reports are talking about USD20 million for “Pacman” and 4 million for “Bam Bam”. And that is what we are talking about: for great boxers, nicknames equal big brand names which make money, regardless of whether the result is a straight KO in the ring or via a vote of the jurors.
The upcoming Pacquiao-Rios fight at the Cotai Arena, for the vacant WBO welterweight title, will surpass 1990's numbers of the legendary Tyson defeat not only in terms of purse but also in television viewership and rights, predicted Bob Arum the co-promoter of the Clash in Cotai. That explains why the fights start so early for a boxing event: most of the pay-per-view audience and bettors are in other time zones, especially in the West Pacific – with the notable exception of the devastated Philippines whose 96 million population comes to a standstill every time their hero puts on his gloves to fight.
For Macau this boxing event is a landmark.
Macau is on the verge of “changing for good”, so says Edward Tracy, the boss of the gaming operator that is clearly a step ahead of competitors in the non-gaming arena.
The city is clamoring for change, and the so-called diversification may be happening in the way of “intelligent design” applied to economic evolution, meaning it will be the major industry that will lead the way of change.
2. Congressman Manny Pacquiao couldn’t visit the areas hit by the typhoon because he had to be totally focused on training for the Sunday’s fight, but he was adamant about his help. Manny sent his people, his assistance, his thoughts to the most needed and the relatives of the victims. Which meant many to many.
It’s much more that we can say for the deplorable reaction (read, inaction) of the Macau Government in yet another attitude of subservience by aligning with Beijing’s paltry aid because of the diplomatic row with Manila. Like one of our readers stated in a written letter to this newspaper this week, “Macau could shine” when it comes to humanitarian support due to its enormous monetary resources.
Moreover, if Macau has any good historical tradition it is that of helping the unfortunate, inside and outside its borders. And these days inside its borders the Filipinos are the largest, very helpful and needed, alien community. Wouldn’t this ring a bell?
3. Ideas are starting to evolve to fight the housing issue – some, to say the least, audacious.
On the audacious side, we had lawmaker Song Pek Kei who believes that she has a possible solution for the vast housing problem affecting Macau. During the Legislative Assembly plenary meeting, she suggested that non-resident workers “should be encouraged to live in mainland China” instead of living in the MSAR.
We can’t but believe Ms Song (Chang Meng Kam’s ‘party’) must have her ‘guangxi’ on the mainland and should know better than us how Zhuhai authorities would welcome the prospect of having tens of thousands of Filipinos and Indonesians (countries that have issues with China, see above) living there.
In a more plausible tone, ‘kaifong’ legislator Ho Ion Sang proposed a cap on rentals to curb the “insane rises in property rents” ripping off low-medium income families and SMEs. Such measures may not be regulated but some provisions of the general law can apply.
However, judging from the recent Policy Address, the government prefers to defer any intervention in the real estate market (intelligent design?), opting to appeal to our faith. Next year will be better. Chief’s promise.
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