Boxing fans and cable operators are anxiously awaiting the outcome of tonight’s Floyd Mayweather-Sugar Shane Mosley pay-per-view fight.
The fans want to see if “money” Mayweather can remain unbeaten against a veteran two-time welterweight champion and overall three-division champion in Mosley.
The cable industry is hoping Mayweather-Mosley will become the industry’s first 1 million PPV buy boxing event of the year. Mayweather’s last fight, a Sept. 19 win against overmatched Juan Manuel Marquez, drew 1 million PPV buys. Operators are hoping that Mayweather’s appeal in a fight against a tough opponent in Mosley will be enough to get hard core boxing fans and casual sports fans to plunk down $54.95 to watch the event.
So far the buzz is strong for the fight. HBO is reporting that two days leading up to the fight, digital ads for the event placed on numerous websites are generating record 25% to 30% engagement rates as people seek information about the fight.
Operators may also secretly root for Mayweather to keep alive the potential of a major fall blockbuster PPV fight between Mayweather and pound-for-pound champion Manny Pacquiao. That fight should have taken place March 13, but the two sides could not agree on a drug testing schedule for the fighters. Pacquiao instead fought Joshua Clottey that night and drew a respectable 800,000 PPV buys while defeating the former welterweight champion.
Without a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in 2010, the boxing category may have a tough time matching the PPV success it’s had over the past few years.
Last year the Mayweather-Marquez bout, along with the Nov. 14 Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight, marked the first time two PPV fight events hit the 1 million mark in the same year since 1999.
But right now, there are no other potential matchups between the current crop of champions and contenders that could arguably generate enough buzz to approach the 1 million buy mark.
HBO is expected to announce Saturday (May 1) a July 31 PPV event headlined by a rematch bout between Marquez and Juan Diaz. While the fight will certainly catch the attention of boxing fans, neither fighter has a broad enough following to turn that fight into a mega PPV event.
Recent PPV events featuring past PPV boxing draws Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins and Evander Holyfield fell well short of knockout buy and revenue performances.
Mayweather-Mosley may not be the biggest PPV boxing event of all time, but it certainly will serve as an important indicator as to how well the category will perform in 2010.