Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao announced earlier this month that they will step in the ring this spring. The problem is that they won’t be fighting each other.That’s been the song the cable industry has been singing for the better part of two years. Everyone associated with the sport and the PPV industry knows that a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would most likely draw the biggest payday in PPV event history, knocking out the more than $120 million Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya punched up in 2007. Everyone knows the fight would receive an unprecedented marketing and promotional buildup from the mainstream media, which could finally shine a positive light on a sport that has struggled to stay relevant - particularly with young people - up against the upstart Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Everyone knows that both fighters would become bigger celebrities than they already are and a bout would certify their status among the greatest boxers of all time, win or lose.
And everyone knows that there’s a very good possibility that the fight will never be made.
Depending on whose camp you’re rooting for, you can point fingers at either Mayweather or Pacquiao for messing up what is the only real big-ticket PPV boxing event possible. But the fact remains that it hasn’t happened yet, and the clock is ticking on the fight’s potential value.
HBO Sports’ new president, Ken Hershman, said as much last month at a boxing-themed sports luncheon. The fight has a “sell-by” date of late 2012 or early 2013 before people will lose interest, he said.
You can only cry wolf for so long before people stop responding. The public has a very short attention span and even less tolerance for nonsense. They will only hold out hope for a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight for so long before they move on.
And they won’t continue to ante up $60 to $70 each time Mayweather or Pacquiao get in the ring against other fighters. It’ll be interesting to see whether Mayweather-Pacquiao fatigue will set in when the buy-rate returns for Mayweather’s May 5 fight with Miguel Cotto and, especially, Pacquiao’s June 9 encounter against little-known PPV draw Timothy Bradley Jr. come in.
A financial body blow to both fighters’ wallets may be the incentive necessary to finally get them in the ring later this year.