Speculation last week between major names in boxing journalism had Floyd Mayweather's Showtime PPV bout with Robert Guerrero doing "well under" one million PPV buys. That would be a massive disappointment for Showtime and would have been a fairly heavy monetary loss.
Later in the week Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer stated that the PPV would end up doing over one million buys, stating "If you look at the DirecTV and the Dish, which are heavy in the Hispanic market - in the Hispanic market the fight underperformed and in the general market the fight over-performed. It is amazing. It's not just on the pay-per-view,. but the general market really carried this fight."
Today saw Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza appearing on The MMA Hour where he backed up Schaefer's claims that the show would indeed go over one million buys (via MMA Fighting):
"There were early reports as early as Tuesday, 72 hours after the fight, about what the (PPV) results had been, which is really way too early, from my perspective, to speak meaningfully about this," Espinoza said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"So when enough data had come in that we were able to speak meaningfully, which was probably Friday, that's when we went ahead and confirmed that we will definitely be over a million buys. I'm not sure exactly how much over a million it will be, whether it be a little or a lot over a million, a lot of that depends on how some of the lagging buys come in and are reported over the next few weeks, but we definitely hit the million buy threshold."
When Schaefer made his statements last week, Scott Christ pointed out that even 1 or 1.1 million buys is still a bit of a "letdown" for a Mayweather PPV and would be his lowest since his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009. He continued:
Mayweather-Guerrero was always going to be a struggle to sell, and there's really no doubt that the promotion just wasn't hot. I don't know, it never took off. If this fight did as well as Schaefer says, that's a big credit to Mayweather's name appeal, because Robert Guerrero did not help at all. Not that he didn't try, but it just appears the public didn't buy into him. That's not Robert's fault, that's just something that can happen.
Would the PPV performing at this rate be a bit of a letdown for Golden Boy and Showtime and Floyd, no matter what they say? Yes, but that doesn't mean it's a critical failure that's going to kill the whole "experiment." It means they've learned something over this process, most likely. They might need a more compelling opponent next time out, or risk some of these "general market" folks who picked up on this one -- the "Lakers crowd," as Richard describes it -- not coming back for the next one.
In other words, I don't think you can get away with, say, Floyd Mayweather vs Devon Alexander next. That might be pushing it. Maybe you don't need to rush right into Canelo Alvarez, but it has to be someone bringing more to the table than Guerrero did this time, and an Alexander sort of fighter is not that guy.
The Canelo vs. Mayweather subject did come up on The MMA Hour and Espinoza explained that he is hopeful the bout can be done, but there is no guarantee:
"I'm still cautiously optimistic," explained Espinoza. "I think that's a fight that makes sense for both guys, and both guys want it. There are details to work out; weight is one of them. But, those things, I think, can get worked out when both fighters want the fight.
"The goal is always to set a new record, the record being 2.5 million (pay-per-views buys) with De La Hoya and Mayweather. ‘Canelo,' as much of a star as he is, doesn't have the awareness that Oscar did as the time of the Mayweather fight, but he has a lot of heat behind him. So, 1.5 (million), 2.5 (million), I'd be happy with any of those," Espinoza said in closing.
Of course, Espinoza has to hold back from being candid about the truth of De La Hoya vs. Mayweather which is that Floyd wasn't anywhere near the star that Canelo is now when he took that fight. Floyd became a star through 24/7 being a brilliant vehicle for his personality and then the fight with Oscar being exciting, competitive and Floyd coming out on top.
Floyd was a well known boxer, but Canelo is already a massive superstar for the Hispanic market.