Floyd Mayweather Jr. has long been boxing's biggest star in the United States, largely because the wins have continued to pile up while a loss has yet to come.
After a relatively disappointing draw for the May 4 bout against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero—Mayweather's first with Showtime Sports—it was likely important to the network, Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather himself to restore the status he's built as being "Money" at all times.
His next opponent will help him restore any luster lost after the pay-per-view numbers from Guerrero trickled in.
The five-division champion will put his 44-0 record on the line against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand, a fight that many are already pinching pennies for in anticipation of two undefeated champions going head-to-head.
Mayweather will face a fellow undefeated star for just the third time in his professional career, the most-recent coming when he demolished Ricky Hatton in the same venue in Las Vegas, in which he will go for career win No. 45 in front of a likely sell-out crowd.
The PPV numbers have a chance to be huge.
Speculation, build-up and prestige for a fight still three months out isn't anything new. Golden Boy will want to make sure it can stir up all of the necessary story lines and controversy surrounding both fighters in the next two months, leading up to a battle in the ring between these two champs.
Mayweather has earned quite a bit of respect from the national media since he first tweeted that he and Canelo had booked the MGM Grand for Sept. 14, largely because his last few fights have done nothing to put him up the latter in respect to the all-time greats.
As Dan Rafael of ESPN reported in early May, the PPV numbers on the Guerrero fight were not "Money" like we've seen in the past—the card did exceed one million buys, but that's nowhere near what you would expect for an undefeated champion in his prime with the belts on the line.
The Guerrero fight was the first of a six-fight agreement with Showtime Sports, one that marked the end of his time with HBO and ushered in a new era of what Showtime and CBS hope to be a profitable marriage of high-selling fights.
The take from fight No. 1 wasn't the outcome many wanted to see.
The take from fight No. 2, though, might be Mayweather's biggest "Money Team" fight yet.
As noted by Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.com, the take from Sept. 14 against Canelo could be Mayweather's biggest draw ever. He already holds the No. 1 PPV spot of all-time—his epic battle with Oscar De La Hoya in 2007—but early build-up and some well-placed ads could put this over the 2.5 million buy-line.
Chris Mannix and Greg Bishop have already observed that CBS has a trump card in the promotion race with the Alabama-Texas A&M game on the same day—a rematch of last year's epic battle when Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel had his "Heisman moment" by going to Tuscaloosa and beating the unbeaten Tide:
College football fans just might be obliged to take in the results of that showdown and flip over to Showtime for the Mayweather fight later on in the evening.
Not everyone expects Mayweather to break the all-time record, but getting close would be a step in the right direction for his name, brand and value as PPV's all-time king.
Steve Kim, for one, predicts these numbers for Sept. 14:
If the numbers did in fact hit that range, expect more joy than disappointment about not hitting a record spot.
Mayweather is indeed one of boxing's biggest stars. Mexico has Juan Manuel Marquez and Alvarez, the Philippines have Manny Pacquiao and the United States has Floyd "Money" Mayweather—in all of his undefeated glory.
With a chance to erase any questions about whether or not he can put fans in the seats and sell to others watching at home, Mayweather picked the perfect fight to erase all of that doubt before the numbers ever hit the public.
This fight will be huge, and Mayweather will be back on top of the PPV mountain—maybe even eclipsing his own impressive record.
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