On Saturday night, thousands of fight fans will make their now twice-annual boxing PPV purchase. That's because the man known as "Money", Floyd Mayweather is fighting, in what may or may not be his last fight ever. Mayweather takes on Andre Berto, live on Showtime PPV this Saturday night, September 12.
If you get the sense that there has not been as much hype for this, ostensibly the retirement fight of this generation's greatest pugilist, you would be right. Few care about Mayweather vs. Berto, and really, that is understandable. After the amazingly high levels of interest in Mayweather's last fight against Manny Pacquiao, there was no way for his next fight to be anywhere near that level. Now, against what's seen as an unworthy opponent in Berto, the interest is even lower.
And that leads to what may be the most interesting question of this particular fight - just how well will this sell?
Clearly it won't do Pacquiao numbers, but that was a once in a lifetime style fight. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao brought in a truly staggering 4.4 million PPV buys, $400 million in PPV revenue, and $71 million in live gate revenue. It was the biggest money fight in the history of boxing, and it will be a long time before it losses that status.
At the same time, to many fans, it was something of a stinker - a typical Mayweather fight that failed to deliver the fireworks so many expected from the Fight of the Century. Many fans swore they would never tune in again - Saturday night, Mayweather tests them. And early indications are that they may be true to their word.
As we have already reported, ticket sales for Mayweather vs. Berto are slow with ample tickets still available. And as ESPN has reported, various markets such as the hotel scene in Las Vegas and the secondary ticket market on StubHub indicate a lackluster draw.
So what does that mean for PPV buys? Since 2007, when he faced Oscar De La Hoya in his first superfight, Mayweather has headlined 11 PPVs. Of those 11, the lowest buys was 900,000 for his 2015 first fight with Marcos Maidana. It's notable that this Maidana fight came immediately after Mayweather vs. Canelo, which, until Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, was the superfight of all superfights, and like that fight, the Canelo clash failed to deliver, leaving many fans swearing they would never watch Mayweather fight again. And they did not lie, as his next two fights were his lowest in years.
As a point of comparison, consider the PPV history of Manny Pacquiao. Like Mayweather, it was a superfight with De La Hoya that launched Pacquiao into megastar status, and in his next 8 fights, his lowest buy was 660,000 against Joshua Clottey. Then, Pacquiao was violently KO'd by Juan Manuel Marquez, and in his third fight back from that KO, he faced the uninspiring Chris Algieri. The result: a relatively paltry 400,000 buys. That fight proved that the Pacquiao name alone could not guarantee those massive buys.
Is the same true for Mayweather? Against Berto, it's pretty obvious that there will be a new low bar set, as this fight is not going to pull in 900,000. Factor in the low interest in the opponent and the fallout from the Pacquiao fight, and you are indeed looking at the lowest selling Mayweather fight in 9 years.
Prediction on buys: 450,000