Golden Boy: Mayweather-Ortiz Draws 1.25 Million PPV Buys

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It took a little over a month, but Golden Boy Promotions finally released pay-per-view buy numbers for the Sept. 17 Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight.

The fight, which carried the most expensive suggested retail price ever for a PPV boxing event at $59.99, drew 1.25 million buys and garnered $78 million in PPV revenue — a record for a non-heavyweight PPV fight, according to Golden Boy officials.

“Every time Floyd steps into the ring, he reminds us that he is the greatest fighter in the sport today and certainly its biggest star.” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO Mayweather Promotions in a statement. “The financial success of his fight with Victor Ortiz reinforces Floyd’s position in the sport as iconic and he should be appreciated for bringing all of this attention and good fortune to the sport.  His pay-per-view success is staggering and the history books will reflect this impact.”

There’s no questioning “money” Mayweather’s box office appeal. The fight represented Mayweather’s third straight 1 million plus PPV buy event: he drew 1 million buys for his Sept. 2009 fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, and 1.4 million buys in his May 2010 fight against Mosley.

The question now is whether the PPV success of the Mayweather fight will have a positive carryover for the industry’s two other PPV boxing matches this fall — the Nov. 12 Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight and the Dec. 3 Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito fight.

While the Mayweather-Ortiz fight may have been a financial success, a good number of fans who dished up $60 to $70 for the fight were not happy with the fight’s results inside the ring. Mayweather’s fourth round controversial knockout of Ortiz with a legal two-punch combination while Ortiz’ hands were down at his side while apologizing to Mayweather for an  illegal head-butt, left a sour taste for more than a few PPV fight buyers.

Further frustrating PPV boxing fans was the controversial ending surrounding HBO’s Oct. 15 Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson PPV boxing event. Dawson was awarded the light heavyweight championship in the second round despite throwing the former champ to the ground after a clinch. Hopkins was unable to beat the referee’s count after hurting his shoulder in the fall.

The fact that the World Boxing Council has since restored the light heavyweight title to Hopkins and declared the fight a technical draw is of little consolation to fans that paid $50 to watch the fight.

Tony Paige, veteran boxing writer and sports-talk radio host on New York’s WFAN said the two controversial PPV fight endings should not stop hard core boxing fans from purchasing the third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez or the Cotto-Margarito rematch, but it may give causal fight fans pause.

“Each fight is its own niche event – if you’re a Pacquiao fan you’re going to watch his fight, and if you’re a Cotto fan you’re going to pay to see him fight,” he said. “But if you’re a boxing fan on the fringe you’re probably going to pass on the fights – particularly as we get closer to the holiday season.”

New York Daily News boxing writer Tim Smith also believes the controversial Mayweather-Ortiz and Hopkins-Dawson endings will hurt buys for Pacquiao-Marquez and Cotto-Margarito among casual boxing fans.

It will have an impact on the casual fan that has to think long and hard about buying a movie or a big event,” he said. “But you’re going to pick up a lot of hard core boxing fans who remember the [prior fights] between the fighters.”