Will Saturday's Mayweather Fight Break the Pay-Per-View Record?

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2013

Mayweather's 2007 endeavor against Oscar De La Hoya broke PPV records. Will Saturday's fight?
Mayweather's 2007 endeavor against Oscar De La Hoya broke PPV records. Will Saturday's fight?Al Bello/Getty Images

Boxing fans tuning in to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza this Saturday night just might be helping it crack the all-time revenue record for such events. In fact, according to R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel.com, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer expects exactly that.

“If you divide that number by the PPV price which we have here, we’re looking at a little below 2 million PPV buys to break the gross [revenue] record,” Schaefer said. "I am convinced it will be broken."

The price, of course, is the deciding factor in such an equation. Where the previous record-holder for total PPV revenue, Mayweather’s 2007 bout against Oscar De La Hoya, was calculated by multiplying the number of buys by a $54.95 purchase price, this weekend’s event will be sold in two tiers, the lowest of which will cost fans $10 more. Fight fans purchasing Mayweather-Canelo will pay either $64.95 for the standard-definition broadcast or $74.95 for the high-definition version.

In short, Schaefer is on to something.

Others are in agreement. According to a report by BoxingScene.com’s David Greisman, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe also believes the quick math is in favor of the record being broken.

“Most homes were just standard definition in 2007,” Ellerbe said. “Obviously now, when you look at the cable and satellite systems, about 80 percent of the homes are in high definition now.”

Greisman goes on to note that even Mayweather believes the PPV revenue record will fall on Saturday night, even if the fight does not eclipse the PPV record of 2.5 million buys that his 2007 bout against De La Hoya set.

“We still can break the record and we don’t have to do 2.5,” Mayweather said.

The math adds up for total revenue, but can fight fans also expect over 2.5 million buys? Not quite.

Look, Mayweather is the biggest star in the sport. Heck, he might be the biggest star of any sport. According to Forbes, after all, the gifted pugilist is the highest-paid athlete in the world today. That’s right, Mayweather makes more money than Tiger Woods or LeBron James, and he does so without earning a single cent from endorsements.

But Money May is only one half of the equation.

Sure, rising star Canelo Alvarez has title belts, a legion of rabid supporters and a glossy, undefeated record. He might even be capable of pulling off the upset, despite 46 of 56 polled industry experts saying otherwise over at TheSweetScience.com.

But Canelo Alvarez is no Oscar De La Hoya. Not yet. While De La Hoya faced Floyd at the peak of his earning power, and the two men met at just the right time to shatter box-office records together, the 23-year-old Alvarez isn’t quite there yet.

And before you argue the other way, Canelo is not a younger version of Mayweather yet, either. By the time he squared off with  De La Hoya, Mayweather had already tested the PPV waters against high-profile fighters Arturo Gatti and Zab Judah, as well as linear welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir.


His biggest sell to date was the impressive win over Austin Trout last April in San Antonio. Sure, the redheaded phenom helped pack in over 40,000 screaming fight fans at the Alomodome, but the bout wasn’t PPV worthy and was broadcast to regular Showtime subscribers. And anyone who believes his 2012 undercard bout against the faded Shane Mosley moved the needle on buys for the Mayweather-Cotto PPV is just plain crazy.

So, while it should break the overall revenue record, do not expect Mayweather-Canelo to reach or exceed 2.5 million total buys. But don’t fret over it, though.

Because Mayweather vs. Canelo is the biggest fight of the year, and that’s good enough.