LAS VEGAS -- The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout not only matches the two best fighters pound-for-pound and the best fighters of their era, it also matches boxing’s biggest attractions. This is why their mega fight on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena is widely considered a lock to shatter the pay-per-view record of 2.48 million generated by Mayweather’s victory against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
The pay-per-view numbers put up by Mayweather and Pacquiao are nothing less than staggering. Their pay-per-views have combined to sell 27.9 million units and have generated $1.6 billion in revenue. (But boxing is dead, right?)
“With Mayweather's strongest markets in the eastern half of the country and Pacquiao's strength in the west, their combined 27.9 million buys and $1.6 billion in revenues create the perfect pay-per-view storm,” said Mark Taffet, the HBO senior vice president in charge of HBO PPV, who has worked on all 187 HBO PPV events (which, by the way, have generated 59.3 million buys and $3.1 billion in revenue since its 1991 debut with Evander Holyfield-George Foreman).
It is that perfect storm Taffet mentioned that figures to make Saturday’s long-awaited showdown a monster at the box office.
Mayweather has headlined 13 pay-per-view events, beginning with his 2005 knockout of the late Arturo Gatti. Mayweather did his first nine with HBO PPV and has fought his last four on Showtime PPV under the nine-figure deal he signed in early 2013.
According to Taffet, Mayweather’s pay-per-view events have garnered 14.5 million buys and $873 million in PPV revenue. Besides the buy record, Mayweather’s also holds the pay-per-view revenue record. His 2013 fight against Canelo Alvarez did 2.2 million PPV buys but set the revenue record at $153 million because the price of the PPV was higher.
Pacquiao has headlined 20 pay-per-view cards, beginning with his action-packed and very close 2005 decision loss to Erik Morales in the first fight of their trilogy. Pacquiao, who fought once on Showtime PPV (against Shane Mosley in 2011), has generated 13.4 million buys and $741 million of PPV revenue.
Just looking at the history on PPV of Mayweather and Pacquiao -- combined with the intense public demand for them to fight -- Saturday’s pay-per-view figures to shatter the buy record and the money record, especially with the PPV price tag being about $100.