The numbers are not official yet, but everyone associated with last week's tremendous Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto welterweight championship fight expects the pay-per-view numbers to be excellent.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and HBO PPV haven't released official sales totals yet because the final tally is not in yet, but both believed it would do better than initially anticipated.
Arum, who said he needed around 225,000 buys to break even, was virtually walking on air the other day when we spoke about the performance of the pay-per-view.
"As bullish as we were on the how the numbers would be during the week of the fight, it pales in comparison to how well it looks like it will do," Arum told me. "So far, I am extremely pleased. You really don't know for sure yet, but certainly it would not be beyond the realm of reasonable possibility we break 500,000. But we will certainly be well over 400,000."
Even before the fight, it was tracking well ahead of last November's Cotto-Shane Mosley fight, which did about 350,000 buys.
Margarito stopped Cotto in the 11th round of the all-action fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The success of the event means Cotto and Margarito will each receive substantial additional money beyond their guaranteed purses because both had an upside on the pay-per-view, meaning that once it reaches a certain number of sales they will receive a certain dollar figure for every buy above the threshold.
If Cotto-Margarito settles at about 450,000 or so buys, it figures to wind up as the third- or fourth-best boxing pay-per-view of the year.
The Jan. 19 Roy Jones-Felix Trinidad HBO PPV card generated more than 500,000 buys. The Nov. 8 Joe Calzaghe-Jones fight figures to be in the same ballpark as Cotto-Margarito. Oscar De La Hoya's planned Dec. 6 career finale, be it against Manny Pacquiao or anyone else, will probably do more than 1 million.
Arum was particularly pleased by the performance of Cotto-Margarito in the Hispanic marketplace, which has regularly supported pay-per-view fights with Latin stars.
"In particular, in the areas of high Hispanic concentration, we kicked a--," Arum said. "We doubled Cotto-Mosley in those areas."
It was only Cotto's third headline appearance in a major pay-per-view card and Margarito's first, although both had headlined smaller shows.