Manny Pacquiao's one-sided destruction of Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 lit up the pay-per-view world to the tune of at least 1.15 million buys and $64 million, according to HBO's initial report. (The total will rise when all the buys are accounted for.)
That's an extraordinary pay-per-view number, considering the fight was between two non-Americans, Pacquiao was a significant favorite and many were disgusted by the mere idea of the fight, believing that it was disgraceful that Margarito even got the opportunity because of the hand-wrap scandal he was involved in.
At the Cowboys Stadium ticket counter, Pacquiao also proved to be a big attraction for his second consecutive fight there, but not quite as big as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum predicted.
Arum insisted there would be a crowd of well over 50,000 and had designs on breaking the American indoor attendance record set by the Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks heavyweight championship rematch at the Superdome in New Orleans in 1978. That fight, which Arum also promoted, drew 63,315.
Although Pacquiao-Margarito had a big crowd, it fell well short of the record. And as excellent as the attendance was, it still must be viewed as a slight disappointment considering the expectations and hype.
On the night of the fight, attendance was announced at 41,734 -- far short of 50,000 and far less than what Pacquiao's fight there in March drew against Joshua Clottey.
In reality, Pacquiao-Margarito drew 40,154, according to the official report provided to ESPN.com by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation under an open records request.
Of those 40,154 tickets, 9,717 were comps, according to the report, meaning the fight had a paid attendance of 30,437 -- which is tremendous for a boxing match in the United States -- and a live gate of $5,404,760.
In the aftermath of the fight, Arum claimed he was happy with the attendance and chalked up the figure to the still-sagging economy and the fact that the Dallas Cowboys were off to such a horrific start to their NFL season that it took away a lot of publicity in the North Texas region. I agree with him about that. I also agree with Arum that the fact Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who was ubiquitous during the March promotion, was invisible during the late stages of the Pacquiao-Margarito promotion while dealing with the Cowboys' midseason coaching change hurt significantly.
In March, Jones was seen flogging the fight everywhere. It made a big difference. For this fight, he was a non-entity.
Here's the breakdown of the tickets sold for Pacquiao-Margarito, according to the Texas official report with the number of tickets sold in each category with the total gross for that category:
• 2,475 @ $700 = $1,732,500
• 1,687 @ $500 = $843,500
• 14 @ $ 400 = $5,600
• 2,087 @ $300 = $626,100
• 61 @ $250 = $15,250
• 2,496 @ $200 = $499,200
• 445 @ $150 = $66,750
• 866 @ $125 = $108,250
• 9,536 @ $100 = $953,600
• 300 @ $75 = $22,500
• 1,272 @ $60 = $76,320
• 8,727 @ $50 = $436,350
• 471 @ $40 = $18,840
The numbers are nothing sneeze at, even if they are a bit less than expected. Now just imagine what the totals would be if Floyd Mayweather Jr. would agree to fight Pacquiao.