It’s way too early to determine how many pay-per-view buys Saturday night’s Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight generated, but it’s not to early to speculate on the damaging effect the bout's outcome will have on the PPV boxing category's immediate future.
Marquez’s devastating sixth-round knockout of Pacquiao not only cemented the fighters' epic four-fight rivalry, it stopped Pacquiao’s run as one of the top PPV boxing draws and may have ended his boxing career.
For years Pacquiao along with Floyd Mayweather have been the most successful fighters in the PPV boxing ring, with both fighters routinely generating 1 million PPV buys and millions of dollars for each of their bouts since the late 2000s.
But with a loss this past June’s to Timothy Bradley Jr. and Saturday’s devastating KO defeat to Marquez, Pacquiao can no longer be considered in the same elite PPV boxing category as Mayweather. That’s unfortunate for category because it now officially eliminates a potentially record-setting Mayweather-Pacquiao PPV bout.
Also, operators can no longer count on at least two big-ticket Pacquiao PPV boxing matches a year.
If Pacquiao decides to fight again – and that’s a big if after his brutal KO loss to Marquez – he would undoubtedly have to fight at least one non-PPV fight to re-establish his appeal to both casual and hard core boxing fans before stepping into another big-ticket PPV boxing event.
That leaves the PPV boxing category with Mayweather as the only fighter that could be counted on for a 1 million PPV buy event – and that depends on the champ fighting a credible, well-known opponent. Mayweather said last week that he plans to fight twice in 2013.
Beyond that its slim pickings -- Miguel Cotto’s Dec. 1 loss to Austin Trout on Showtime sabotaged a potentially strong May 2013 PPV bout against rising welterweight champion Canelo Alverez.
Who among the up and coming crop of fighters can fill Pacquiao's PPV boxing shoes?