Floyd Mayweather retired (again) on Saturday night following his predictable win over Andre Berto in Las Vegas. With fans in uproar over his disappointing superfight with Manny Pacquiao in May, as well as his choice of Berto as his next opponent, there was little buzz surrounding his apparent swan song.
According to ESPN's Dan Rafael and the LA Times' Lance Pugmire, PPV estimates are pegged at approximately 550,000 buys, which would be Mayweather's worst PPV since his 2006 win over Carlos Baldomir (before Mayweather ever hit it big as a PPV attraction). The low buyrate combined with the struggling ticket sales suggest that this was a money loser.
PPV industry source on #MayweatherBerto numbers tells me they're very poor relatively speaking. 'Being generous is might hit 550,000 buys.'— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) September 16, 2015
Purses for #MayweatherBerto main event alone was $36M. If PPV does even 550k it nets around $20M. Lot to make up with gate & other revenue.— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) September 16, 2015
"Likely did" and "being generous" otherwise translates to the distinct possibility that this didn't really hit 550,000, and may be in the 450-500k range. Whatever the case, by Mayweather standards, this is a box office bomb just months after he and Pacquiao had the biggest PPV in history at 4.4 million buys. To put things in perspective, since his record-breaking fight with Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, Mayweather hadn't had a PPV dip below 800,000 buys either with HBO or Showtime. It's safe to say that interest in his fights is at an all-time low and it arguably may never reverse itself.
If we do play along and believe Mayweather is retired for good, what becomes of Manny Pacquiao? Mayweather's star power is still strong enough to get him above 500,000, but it's substantially diminished in the immediate aftermath of the Pacquiao bout. Pacquiao's own drawing power has taken a considerable hit after he lost to Juan Manuel Marquez in memorably violent fashion. His fights vs. Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri, both post-Marquez loss, failed to go above the 500,000 mark, although promoter Bob Arum noted putting Pacquiao in Macau is a big reason buyrates were affected. There aren't too many realistic options for Pacquiao to hit it big on PPV again, so chances are this year is the last time either Mayweather or Pacquiao as the sport's top draw.
As for the end-of-year PPV schedule for boxing, there are two big shows left on the 2015 calendar, and both are on HBO. Gennady Golovkin makes his PPV debut against David Lemieux at Madison Square Garden on October 17th, and tickets have just about sold out already, which is an astonishing achievement for a non-Puerto Rican fighter at MSG. On November 21st, Mexico's Canelo Alvarez will take on Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas. Golden Boy Promotions' Oscar De La Hoya expects GGG-Lemieux to do between 350,000-500,000 buys at a $59.95 HD/$49.95 SD cost, while he thinks Canelo-Cotto can go over 1 million and potentially reach 2 million with the cost set at $74.95 HD/$64.95 SD.
The buyrates of those two PPVs could go a long way in determining if 2016 ushers in the era of Canelo (firstly) and Golovkin (secondly) as boxing's new must-buy stars.