Floyd "Money" Mayweather's unanimous-decision victory over Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero might have seemed like a roaring success for all involved.
Mayweather proved he's still the best, Guerrero wasn't completely outclassed or dominated by the 36-year-old and the rest of the world got to watch the best do his thing in the ring. Sure, viewers had to shell out $59.95 for the fight, but that wasn't a surprise to anyone. They knew how much they were paying and what they were getting with it.
We knew before the fight that Mayweather was going to make a killing. With MaxBoxing's Steve Kim suggesting Mayweather made over $50 million for the fight, it's safe to say that Money's contract held up in this one.
However, as much of a killing as Mayweather made, the pay-per-view numbers that he was expected to roll in aren't looking that good for Showtime.
There's no official numbers as of yet, but according to ESPN's Dan Rafael, the projective pay-per-view numbers will be well under one million. Which, for a quick comparison, is well below the 1.5 million pay-per-views and $94 million that Floyd brought to the table when he fought Miguel Cotto—making it the "second-highest grossing pay-per-view for a non-heavyweight fight in history," per ESPN.
No official PPV #'s yet for Floyd but 2 industry sources tell me they look bad (under 1M). We'll see. If true, heavy $$ losses for Showtime.— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) May 7, 2013
@kevini Yup, not a matter of under but how under.— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) May 7, 2013
The reasons for the low pay-per-view numbers could be varied.
It could have been Guerrero's fault. Nobody really knew who he was or why people should watch him face Mayweather.
Perhaps the blame rests with Money, who offered no real promotion, pre-fight hype or even trash talk heading into this one. There were CBS documentaries, ESPN interviews and more, but nothing stood out in the buildup that would make someone fork out $59.95 if he wasn't going to already.
Maybe people just didn't want to watch Mayweather cruise to victory again.
It's probably a mix of all that and a whole lot more, but the reality is that for one reason or another, the PPV buys didn't live up to expectations for this fight.
And regardless of the reasons, the outcome makes for an intriguing storyline and potential next five fights for Mayweather—something that we perhaps hadn't expected when his massive six-fight contract with Showtime Inc. had been announced.
According to Mayweather's contract with Showtime, Mayweather will fight six times in 30 months, and the Guerrero fight was the first of the bunch. Money spoke out about the next five fights after defeating The Ghost (see video), but the comments toward the end of his contract agreement are perhaps most intriguing here.
Mayweather is the PPV king and averages over 1 million PPV buys per event, which is the highest PPV buy average of any boxer in history. At this record-setting PPV performance level...it will be the richest individual athlete deal in all of sports.
A Forbes report by Kurt Badenhausen labeled Mayweather as the "undisputed king of PPV," but it seems that might not quite be the case anymore.
And that makes for a fascinating next five fights for Money.
Mayweather probably wasn't going to fight a true big name over those five fights, as much as we would all want him to. He has a reputation and an undefeated record to protect, and with revelations that he hand picks each opponent, he's not going to take on someone who has a chance of knocking him out.
But if he's not pulling the numbers we've come to expect, he may have to alter his initial plans and reach for more popular and dangerous opponents.
Some will scream for Manny Pacquiao, while others will want him to take on Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on the day before Mexican Independence Day.
We won't know Money's next opponent until the news is released, but the truth is that the projected low PPV numbers could put some additional pressure on him to perform. Not from his end—he still got paid just fine from this fight—but from his contract with Showtime.
Paul Magno at Yahoo! Sports writes:
As Mayweather explores opponents for the second bout of his six-fight Showtime deal, there are going to have to be changes made. A bankable opponent needs to be chosen and the "old" Money needs to come back. Anything less will result in sure disappointment (again).
Showtime needs big pay-per-views to come in as expected.
Otherwise there may be issues between Money and Showtime, which makes this story far bigger than one slightly boring fight against Guerrero.
Mayweather needs to start bringing more PPV buys to the table once more, regardless of whom he fights or how he builds up those fights.
He just has to sell more PPVs in whatever way that he can.
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