(Photo credit: Sumio Yamada) Showtime vice president of Sports Stephen Espinoza acknowledges that there’s been a drop off in pay-per-view sales lately in boxing largely due to the huge amount of PPV events that have been taking place in the past year.
We’ve seen the likes of Manny Pacquiao’s PPV sales plummet from 1 million PPV buy mark to as low as 475,000 for his fight against Brandon Rios last year. However, Espinoza believes that WBA/WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr’s rematch tonight against Marcos Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) will do better than their previous fight last May. Espinoza expects the fight to do well on Showtime pay-per-view.
“The Mayweather events have held up better than most because they’re such big events and such spectacles,” Espinoza said via RingTV.com. “With this particular event [Mayweather-Maidana 2] as a rematch, I’m not worried about a significant drop. I think it might actually do better than the first fight in May and that’s because we don’t have to sell the quality of the fight. The first fight speaks for itself.”
Espinoza is probably right. Mayweather made sure that his first fight against Maidana was an exciting one by standing in the pocket and trading with him for 12 rounds instead of using movement to out-box him the way that Amir Khan and Devon Alexander did. Mayweather fought Maidana in a toe-to-toe manner for much of the fight, and the outcome was a close enough one to where Mayweather won by a 12 round majority decision.
There’s likely going to be a lot of boxing fans who will gladly purchase tonight’s “Mayhem” fight card on Showtime PPV more so than last time. The undercard of tonight’s Mayweather-Maidana 2 card isn’t anything to get excited about, because it looks like they’ve cut some corners by adding a number of less than thrilling fights to the card, especially the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Manuel Roman fight in the co-feature. But boxing fans largely purchase cards based on the main events nowadays rather than the co-feature.
“He’s [Mayweather] outperformed from a promotional standpoint and from his visibility on the network,” Espinoza said. “The financial aspect is an absolute success. There’s not a fighter out there today that even comes close to the types of numbers that he generates.”
With Mayweather still getting in the 1 million buy area for his fights, it makes it even tougher to try and put together a fight against Pacquiao at this point. You can make an argument that even a 60-40 purse split wouldn’t be high enough for a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, because Mayweather is clearly the bigger PPV fighter now than Pacquiao.
A purse split of 70-30 might be the only way that a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight could take place now, given the growing difference between the PPV numbers between the two fighters. Pacquiao’s fight on November 22nd against little known Chris Algieri could worsen the problem for Pacquiao rather than improve it. The fight isn’t expected to bring in high PPV sales. At best, we could be looking at another Pacquiao fight where he brings in only 400,000+ PPV numbers.