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Pacquiao draws career-best PPV numbers

With the help of CBS, Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Shane Mosley on May 7 attracted more pay-per-view buyers than any of his previous fights.

CBS’s cross-promotion, which included three episodes of “Fight Camp 360” on the network, helped the Showtime pay-per-view card generate 1.3 million to 1.4 million buys. The final tally is expected this week.

“We’re very happy with CBS and Showtime,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao. “They were a great partner, and this is the biggest pay-per-view result in Manny’s career.”

The WBO welterweight champion’s previous best was 1.25 million buys for his eighth-round technical knockout of Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.

“It was a very successful promotion,” Arum said. “Manny doing 1.3, 1.4 million buys is outstanding.”

The fight at the MGM Grand Garden had a live gate of $8,882,600, boxing’s 14th-highest gross in state history. Officially, 15,422 tickets were sold.

Arum said he thinks boxing could return to prime-time network television on CBS this year. But if it happens, it will probably be without Pacquiao because he might be too expensive.

“Manny makes between $20 million to $30 million a fight,” Arum said. “How are you going to leave that kind of money on the table to fight on free TV?

“I’m not ruling it out completely. But I don’t know that you could make it work (economically).”

If not Pacquiao, Arum said, former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik might be a candidate for a CBS bout.

Pavlik, 29, has a compelling life story, as he has battled alcoholism. Arum said he thinks there are enough worthy super middleweight opponents for Pavlik to create a good TV matchup.

“Lucien Bute is a possibility,” Arum said. “Andre Ward. Carl Froch. There are lots of good fights for Kelly.”

While Pavlik is a good story, it’s debatable whether he could draw enough viewers to make the investment worthwhile for CBS or any other network.

■ PACQUIAO, MOSLEY PASS — Pacquiao and Mosley passed their postfight drug tests, Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said.

Both fighters tested negative for steroids, performance-enhancing drugs, recreational drugs and diuretics. Pacquiao, who has been accused of using PEDs — most recently last week by a former sparring partner — has never failed a drug test.

Kizer also said Jorge Arce and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. passed their drug tests. Arce defeated Vazquez by technical knockout to win the WBC super bantamweight title on the May 7 undercard.

■ TRIALS IN ALABAMA — USA Boxing has announced that the Olympic trials will take place July 31 to Aug. 6 in Mobile, Ala.

Michael Hunter, a Las Vegan who recently won the gold medal at the national Golden Gloves championships, has qualified for the trials at 201 pounds. He won the U.S. trials at heavyweight in 2007 but lost in the AIBA world championships and did not qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

■ KIRKLAND, ADAMS SPLIT — Las Vegas -based veteran trainer Kenny Adams said he is no longer working with James Kirkland.

The middleweight, stopped in the first round by Nobuhiro Ishida on April 9 at the MGM Grand, has reunited with trainer Ann Wolfe.

“It’s nobody’s fault,” said Adams, who trained Kirkland (27-1, 24 knockouts) for three fights. “Sometimes things just don’t work out. They’re probably a better fit anyway.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com sscarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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