Last weekend, the biggest fight of the century, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, went down without a hitch to a fanbase that stands largely divided on whether it was a brilliant display of boxing or a mockery of it. Retired UFC middleweight lightning rod, Chael Sonnen spoke to the Three Amigos Podcast recently about the fight and had some interesting things to say on the "combat sports event of the century." Topics included PPV number embellishment, negative fan reactions, missed PR opportunities and whether the UFC can put out a PPV that can approach the same number of buys within the next few years.
Mayweather vs Pacquiao Numbers
I think the number of pay-per-views they've sold is grossly embellished. I was watching Fox News, which is supposed to be a real news channel, and I respect them, but they advertised that Pacquiao's shorts alone were worth $250M. A quarter of a billion dollars! His six sponsors put up $40M per patch? Those are all publicly traded companies. If one CEO signed off on that he would not only be removed, but he would be placed in prison, and that's where his dumb ass would belong. The number of pay-per-views they did is great, but they're grossly lying about it. The pay-per-view was sold through public companies like DirecTV, we can check the goddamn numbers. You don't need to just believe they sold 3 and a half million pay-per-views, cause they didn't.
As far as fans being disappointed? Screw the fans! You're gonna be mad about that fight? That's the dumbest. When has Floyd Mayweather ever given you a good fight? He's had 48 professional fights and they all sucked in terms of entertainment. Is he a talented fighter and all of that? Sure he is. But you're telling me you didn't know what you were going to get? Come on.
Boxing is deathly, ungodly boring. It's my second favorite sport, so I'm comfortable talking about this. I was a boxer, I'm still a boxer. I did amateur boxing and I wanted to try out for the Olympics in the year 2000, this was my life, and I'll be the first to tell you boxing is ungodly boring. My favorite sport is amateur wrestling, and I understand how boring that is too. Before I have all these boxing fans coming at me... Look, your sport sucks and so does mine. It is what it is. Boxing has been around for hundreds of years and outside of Mike Tyson it has always sucked.
I think I'm the only one who didn't complain when Mayweather vs Pacquiao was over. I gave them my 100 bucks and I would give it to them again. It was part of history and if you like boxing, that's what you watch. If you want to see a fight, you have to tune into the UFC. Boxing is not a fight.
There are very few fighters in boxing anymore. Your Sugar Ray Leonards, your Roberto Durans...they're gone. It's too hard to make a living doing that. You can make a living and still be able to carry on a conversation if you fight like Floyd fights, so why not do it?
UNDERCARD & MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
I think boxing has really missed opportunities with their undercards for a while. 50 Cent hinted that he was getting into boxing promotion and that he was going to copy the UFC model with five star studded fights in a night and not just focus everything around the main event. Boxing has always been that way and they seem to succeed and like it. I'm not here to tell them to change their business model, but yes, I feel it's a missed opportunity. I feel that if you give us even just three fights that are all fun you could really change the way we look at boxing.
That's easier said than done, though. You have to understand, nobody boxes. Not one of your readers is a boxer. They don't have a friend or family member that boxes. They didn't go to a school or a college that has a boxing program. Not one of your readers could tell me where to go to buy a goddamn pair of boxing gloves right now. I was 28 years old when I met a boxer. That was the first human being in my life I met that was a boxer. I used to live at the Olympic training centre. We had a boxing program out there and I never met a boxer. Nobody boxes!
You can tell me, ‘Oh yeah, my sister boxes.' No, she does a boxercise class. Does she get in the ring and fight? The answer is no. Nobody does. There's like four gyms in all of America, and every time there's a pay-per-view you just bring in a few guys from one gym and a few from the other gym and box. It's not a matter of just not bringing stars in, but where are you going to get them? There are some great boxers out there, but they're all over the world and they're hard to find.
BOXING VS UFC
Can the UFC do 2 million buys in, say, the next 5 years? Yeah, I think so. I think UFC 200 is very likely to come real close to that number, just because UFC 100 did just over 1.7 million buys. I think that 2 million is likely to be done, or at least very close. It's going to be a one-off though. That's not going to be a routine number. If you look at boxing, yeah they probably will break the 2 million mark as well, but how many shows do they do per year? They do two, and they both have the same headliner; Floyd Mayweather.
Klitschko fought at Madison Square Garden the week before the Mayweather fight, and there were a lot of people there dressed as empty seats. Nobody knew the fight was on, and those of us who were punished by watching it were miserably bored for 36 minutes. Again, I'm a boxing fan and I'm a wrestler. I get how boring wrestling is, but I don't lie about it. We acknowledge that wrestling is boring.
We'll be bringing a few more articles as well as audio from this interview in the next day or two, so make sure to check Bloody Elbow for updates.