Mayweather vs Pacquiao generated a whopping 4.4 million pay-per-view buys, according to Showtime and HBO news releases Tuesday, which seems like it ought to make everyone shut the hell up for a little bit about boxing being dead but yeah, it won’t.
The figure for Floyd’s showdown with Manny almost doubled the previous record, the 2.48 million buys for Mayweather’s bout against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
All of this is worth celebrating, if you’re a boxing fan who wants the sport to succeed. Sure, the fight wasn’t terribly entertaining, but as we’ve discussed, that’s not the end of the world. And yes, it’s wise to point out that other fights in prior eras, when PPV wasn’t so widespread, captured a higher percentage of the homes wired for it. Hell, things have improved markedly even since 2007.
But with 4.4 million households paying good money for a fight, it shows that boxing can still move the general public, especially considering some recent ratings successes on both pay TV and network TV.
The other part HBO and Showtime touted, that Mayweather vs Pacquiao broke revenue records, isn’t so worthy of celebration. Boxing being an economic success is great and all, but the only way this fight gets to $500 million is if it’s wildly expensive — $100 for HD on your TV, thousands and even tens of thousands for tickets — which shuts out more customers.
We don’t have the replay figures for Mayweather vs Pacquiao yet on Showtime or HBO. I’d bet they’ll show big audiences there, too, even with word on the street that the fight was, in the eyes of many, boring. Combine it with the wider international distribution than any fight ever and closed circuit records, too, and Mayweather vs Pacquiao was a juggernaut beyond the wild expectations of some of the business’ hyperbole-prone types.