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“The One” Sets Records

(Pic created by © Chee, MaxBoxing)
(Pic created by © Chee, MaxBoxing)

After a superlative performance by Floyd Mayweather this past weekend, when he shut down Saul Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a steady stream of press releases trumpeting just what a blockbuster financial and ratings success “The One” turned out to be hit the inboxes of the boxing media.
It wasn’t much of a fight but it was a helluva promotion.
“Nearly 8-out-of-10 households in Mexico with a television set tuned into last Saturday’s ‘THE ONE: Mayweather vs. Canelo’ mega-fight live on Televisa’s Channel 5. The 12-round majority decision fight, which Mayweather won, garnered a national rating of 41.1 points, which equates to a 77 percent share, 22.1 million viewers and 5.9 million television households, making it the highest-rated boxing program ever on television in Mexico. The telecast peaked with a National rating of 42 points (78.4 percent share/22.6 million viewers/6 million television households) and the total program average from 8:00 p.m. CT to 12:30 a.m. CT was 30.1 points (16.2 million viewers/4.3 million television households),” read a press release that came out on Wednesday boasting the television ratings south of the border.

Then on Thursday, the announcement many were waiting for came out:

“Last Saturday’s blockbuster boxing event – “THE ONE: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO” - ranked as the highest-grossing pay-per-view of all time, with nearly $150 million in U.S. pay-per-view revenue reported to date. The news was announced today by Showtime Networks Inc., a division of CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS), in conjunction with event promoters Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions. The SHOWTIME PPV presentation of THE ONE surpassed the previous record of $136 million generated by Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing event in 2007.Preliminary reports from distributors show pay-per-view buys projected to be 2.2 million. While not fully reported from all distributors, the total buys could challenge the existing record of 2.48 million pay-per-view buys set by De La Hoya vs. Mayweather. The initial report immediately following the De La Hoya vs. Mayweather event in 2007 was 2.15. THE ONE has already exceeded the previous #2 event, the infamous World Heavyweight Championship bout between Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II (1.95 million, 1997).”
It was announced by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that the live gate for the event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena totaled $20,003,150 (with 16,146 tickets sold, no unsold tickets and only 50 comps). The closed-circuit generated $2,615,360 (with 26,163 tickets purchased, none went unsold and 2,000 comps).
So it looks like from a financial standpoint, this event has set new standards across the board.
“Pretty much, the only one which I’m not sure of is the number of buys,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer on Thursday afternoon, “but everything else, every other record fell.”
But moving forward, where does Showtime/CBS and Mayweather go from here? Yes, while the fight against “Canelo” was a homerun (if not a grand slam), as shown in May when Mayweather’s bout against Robert Guerrero did anywhere between 830,000 to a million buys - depending on who and what you believe - the B-side matters. Does Showtime have a bit of a problem in matching Mayweather with foes who will resonate with the public?
“Not necessarily,” stated Stephen Espinoza, Executive VP and GM of Showtime Sports and Event Programming. “I think that with this performance, Floyd erased all doubt - to the extent that there was any - that he is the most talented and skilled boxer of his generation and one of the top of all-time. Knowing that and knowing that we have a limited window in which to watch him perform, whether it’s two more fights or four more fights or who knows? There’s a limited time and we have a very special once-in-a-generation athlete to enjoy. So the event is a Floyd Mayweather performance, which is going to be noteworthy and worthwhile in its own right.
“Now, yes, we also want competitive fights and entertaining fights and we’re going to do our best to find the best possible opponents. But I think there has to be recognition that his fights, even though they can be one-sided at times, it’s an experience like watching Michael Jordan in his final seasons. It’s worthwhile if he was playing against Charlotte.”
There is a lot of merit to that but the key is to make sure this isn’t like Jordan facing the Washington Generals. Perhaps they can get creative and start creating handicap matches for Mayweather. Don’t laugh; George Foreman once fought five opponents on the same night (albeit not at the same time).
“You’re right; we’ll do a tag-team and we can have three guys and everyone will take four rounds. It’s a good idea,” said Espinoza, laughing.
While he didn’t come close to winning on Saturday night (no matter what “Can’t Judge” Ross said), the reality is Alvarez had a lot to do with the interest in this event and he is still a very viable attraction moving forward.
“I think he’s going to continue to be strong because, I mean, if you lose to the number one fighter, I don’t think it hurts your brand,” said Schaefer. “We’ve seen it with others as well. Look at - for example - Juan Manuel Marquez, he lost every second of every round against Mayweather. At least ‘Canelo’ got a majority decision - I’m just kidding.”
After a good chuckle, Schaefer continued, “But no, the bottom line is - look, ‘Canelo’ certainly did better than Marquez; that’s for sure and look what happened with Marquez. Marquez, after he lost every second of every round, he was bigger than ever because it elevates your exposure. So ‘Canelo’ has nothing to be ashamed of. He’s a young, strong fighter who I think would beat anyone else at 154, no question about it. So he will be champion again and I think he has a bright future.”
Schaefer says he will let Alvarez go back to Mexico and take some time off before meeting with him in about a month to discuss the future. A fight with newly-minted IBF junior middleweight titlist Carlos Molina has been bandied about.
From a historical perspective, the fight I’d like to see Mayweather take on next is against Sergio Martinez for the middleweight championship of the world. But unfortunately, like many other fights, because Martinez has a steady relationship with HBO (for the time being), that isn’t realistic. That said, given how Mayweather looked this past weekend and the current physical decline of “Maravilla,” I would favor “Money” to win that fight if it were to come to fruition.
But you know what might still be the most lucrative fight to be made in boxing? Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao. Yes, even now in 2013, believe it or not. My latest contribution to talks about it:
According to this article in Forbes (Floyd - $80 Million For Fight By Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes), Mayweather could earn as much as $80 million for the Alvarez fight. But to get to that stratosphere, again, he will need to hit certain pay-per-view benchmarks, meaning facing certain guys who are not just more popular than the likes of Guerrero but perhaps bigger threats. Do Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Devon Alexander, et al, bring that type of appeal?
Here’s the latest episode of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly: says heavyweight Deontay Wilder has been added to the October 26th Showtime broadcast featuring Bernard Hopkins and Peter Quillin...It looks like the bout between super middleweight king Andre Ward and Edwin Rodriguez is “this close” to becoming a done deal for November 16th on HBO. As for where it ends up, it could take place in San Jose (according to Mr. Montoya) and I’ve heard the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario is a possibility...The debut of “24/7” for Tim Bradley-Marquez premieres next Saturday night on HBO after their tripleheader...Hey, Willis McGahee is back in the league!...There’s no way Nick Saban leaves ‘Bama for Texas; right? I mean, that’s a step down...I’d like to see Jon Taffer do an episode of “Husker Rescue.” Could you imagine him and Bo Pelini?...


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