Floyd Mayweather PPV Attracts 1/10th the Buyers of Pacquiao ‘Fight of the Century’

Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao
The Associated Press

Floyd Mayweather sold 4.4 million pay-per views in May. In September, his fight with Andre Berto attracted about a tenth of that number.

A pugilistic reinterpretation of Dance Fever has that effect on box office. Mayweather, who got paid in May, paid for that borefest in September—or at least Showtime and his promoters did.

Saturday’s fight, marketed as Mayweather’s farewell, drew a reported 400,000 buys. The fighter’s camp claims the figure eclipsed 500,000. Either way, those numbers, at $65 per subscription, just barely cover Mayweather’s $32 million purse.

The public’s hangover from May’s dud and the undefeated welterweight selecting a fading fighter (3-3 in last six bouts) with no chance of victory as his final foe ensured a crash in Mayweather’s pay-per-view market. Given the $25 price reduction from his last fight for home buyers, the dramatic drop in subscriptions does not tell the complete story of the even more dramatic drop in revenue.

Saturday’s subscriptions mark a career nadir since his 2006 capturing of the lineal welterweight championship from Carlos Baldomir, a large but slow Argentine coming off victories over Arturo Gatti and Zab Judah but otherwise unknown in the United States. Like Saturday night’s fight, the Baldomir bout struck fans as a fait accompli.

The meager numbers represent a dramatic drop for the man who calls himself Money. Mayweather-De La Hoya garnered 2.4 million subscriptions, Mayweather-Alvarez attracted 2.2 million buys, and Mayweather-Cotto coaxed 1.5 million into purchasing the product. Even Mayweather’s first fight with Marcos Maidana doubled the buys of Saturday’s bout. The Best Ever went out with a win—and a whimper.

The judges unanimously saw the bout for Mayweather (120-108, 117-111, 118-110). The fans unanimously judged the bout as boring.

In prize fighting, putting your opponent rather than the audience to sleep remains the object. Mayweather’s growing reputation in the latter rather than the former, solidified apparently because of his safe performance on such a massive stage against Pacquiao, finally caught up to him on Saturday.

Mayweather exhibited unmatched timing in the ring. In choosing to retire now with his $32 million guaranteed paydays gone with the passing of his six-fight Showtime deal, the man displays excellent timing in his decision-making outside of the ring as well.