By industry standards, HBO Sports’ Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz pay-per-view boxing event this past Saturday was a solid, mid-size PPV boxing event that will most likely generate somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 to 300,000 PPV buys for cable, satellite TV operators.
But given the relatively sparse PPV boxing event landscape over the next six months to a year, Marquez-Diaz may end up being a fairly big event for the industry.
With the much anticipated Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight apparently on ice until at least next year, the PPV boxing calendar for the remainder of the year lacks several big ticket events for cable operators. Talks between the two biggest PPV draws in the sport broke off recently according to HBO officials, leaving the industry to pine over what could have been the most lucrative event in PPV history.
“Fights like Mayweather vs. Pacquiao are significant because of these fighters’ ability to connect with sports fans around the world. It’s unfortunate that it won’t happen in 2010,” said HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg. “I had been negotiating with a representative from each side since May 2nd, carefully trying to put the fight together. Hopefully, someday this fight will happen. Sports fans deserve it.”
HBO Sports and Golden Boy Promotions today (Aug. 3) officially announced a Sept. 18 “Sugar” Shane Mosley-Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora PPV event. But that fight is probably better suited for HBO’s World Championship Boxing pay TV fight series than a $40 to $50 priced PPV event given Mosley’s decisive loss this past May to Mayweather and Mora’s lack of name recognition among many boxing observers.
The other 2010 PPV fight being discussed is a proposed Nov. 13 bout between Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito, who was suspended from boxing in 2009 for doctoring his hand wraps in a January 2009 fight against Mosley. If the fight happens, it will be an interesting test to see whether Pacquiao can continue to draw more than 800,000 PPV buys by fighting guys not named Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Of course the same dynamic would be in play for any Mayweather fight without Pacquiao – if and when the undefeated Mayweather ever decides to get back into the ring.
Beyond that it’s tough to find a big PPV boxing payday for operators. There are a slew of good fighters within the 130 to 154-pound weight class including Miguel Cotto, Marquez, Andre Berto, Amir Kahn, Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander. But outside of Pacquiao and Mayweather, none rise to mega fighter status.
The heavyweight division — once the glamor attraction for the sport — offers few PPV options at the moment. You know things are tough when the live feed for a heavyweight championship fight is being streamed live on the web rather than airing on cable. Only true hardcore boxing fans will seek out ESPN3.com’s live online coverage of the Sept. 11 Wladimir Klitschko-Samuel Peter IBF heavyweight title fight.
Showtime’s eventful Super Six boxing tournament could provide a potential super middleweight PPV fight in 2011 as it winds down to the semi-finals and finals bouts.
Beyond that, its slim pickings for cable operators and boxing fans.