Cable Operators

Looking For A Knockout

5/18/2010 1:02 PM Eastern

Floyd Mayweather’s May 1 fight
against Shane Mosley cemented his championship
pedigree both inside the boxing
ring and at the pay-per-view box office.
Now, cable operators want the next one
even more: a potential blockbuster fight between
Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Industry executives believe a potential
matchup between the two best pound-forpound
fighters in the sport could be the most
lucrative prize fight in PPV history and is the
most logical follow-up to the HBO-distributed
Mayweather-Mosley fight, which generated
1.4 million pay-per-view buys.

“Mayweather-Pacquiao is the only fight in
any weight division that people want to see,”
said Tony Paige, a veteran boxing writer and
sports-talk radio host on New York’s WFAN radio.
“I don’t think any other fight has the sizzle
of Mayweather-Pacquiao — it has the potential
to break all [PPV records] across the board.”

HBO Sports executives would not comment
on potential negotiations between the
two fighters. A potential March 13 fight between
the two champions fell apart after
Pacquiao refused to submit to random drug
testing prior to the fight as requested by the
Mayweather camp.

The buzz surrounding a Mayweather-Pacaquiao
fight comes on the heels of Mayweather’s
unanimous-decision win against
former welterweight champion Mosley. That
fight’s 1.4 million PPV buys included 740,000
from cable homes and 660,000 from satellite
and telco homes, HBO officials said.

The Mayweather-Mosley fight also generated
$78.3 million in PPV revenue, making
it is the second highest-grossing non-heavyweight
PPV event in boxing history, surpassing
the 1999 Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad bout,
which generated $70.6 million in PPV buys. The
fight is also the top-performing PPV event in
2010, topping the March 13 Pacaquiao-Joshua
Clottey fight, which drew 800,000 buys.

“The boxing pay-per-view category is vibrant,
and we are thrilled to see distributors’
efforts rewarded with these results,” HBO
Sports senior vice president Mark Taffet told
Multichannel News
.

The performance marks the second consecutive
1 million buy PPV event involving
Mayweather, whose May 2007 fight against
De La Hoya is the highest-grossing fight of all
time; it generated $137 million.

Other than a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao
fight in the fall, the PPV boxing calendar
is unclear. HBO earlier this month announced
a July 31 PPV event headlined by a rematch
bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan
Diaz, but no other mid-sized to mega PPV boxing
event has been scheduled to date.

September