Last Saturday's memorable night in Las Vegas saw Canelo Alvarez whack Josesito Lopez to defend his WBC light middleweight title on Showtime, but the epic battle between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez for the WBC middleweight title on HBO PPV was the talk of the night. Chavez Jr. vs. Martinez had plenty of build-up, hype, pre-fight drama, the whole shebang. The atmosphere at the weigh-ins and at the actual fight was electric, and the fight featured maybe the round of the year when Chavez Jr. almost channelled his father's heroics by nearly stopping Martinez in the last round despite being behind on the scorecards.
For as "dead" as boxing apparently is, that fight was a magnificent spectacle and for a non-Pacquiao, non-Mayweather fight, this did fantastic PPV buys. HBO's Senior VP Mark Taffet expected 250,000 buys before Saturday night, but Kevin Iole on Twitter spoke To Taffet today, and they nearly doubled their expectations.
Just spoke to Mark Taffet at HBO PPV. Said Chavez-Martinez sold 475,000 PPVs. About $24 million in revenue. #boxing— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) September 21, 2012
To put that in perspective, this fight did better on PPV than UFC 149 and 150 combined and outdrew all but three 2012 UFC PPVs (145, 146, and 148). It's the best selling PPV for boxing this year not involving Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. The three major PPVs by HBO in 2012 (this card, Mayweather/Cotto, and Pacquiao/Bradley) have done a combined 2,875,000, which is a benchmark the UFC didn't even reach until it's 7th PPV of the year, UFC 148.
This is a big positive for boxing -- and no it's not in the sense of Boxing vs. UFC -- that this did extremely well on the PPV market in addition to setting a new attendance record at the Thomas and Mack Center. This doesn't mean the sky is falling for the UFC, but it should really put to rest the silly talk that boxing is dead.
Furthermore, the Canelo vs. Lopez fight on Showtime hit over a million viewers, which is fantastic given their lower subscription rate than HBO as well as the main event going directly against Chavez Jr. vs. Martinez at near identical times. For as much as Showtime and HBO went head-to-head last Saturday, I'm sure both parties are very pleased with the viewer numbers.
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