Manny Pacquiao further established his reputation as the best pound for pound boxer in the world with his 12-round destruction of Antonio Margarito Saturday night.
Sometime around the end of the week we should know whether Pacquiao remains one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in the sport. HBO Sports and cable operators are expecting that the Pacquiao-Margarito fight – the last major fight of 2010 – will generate more than 1 million buys.
If projections are correct, it will be the second 1 million buy-fight for the category this year, following the May 1 Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight, which pulled in 1.4 million buys. A million-buy fight will also give the PPV category a respectable 4 million PPV buys for the year.
What industry observers won’t know for quite some time is what Pacquiao’s 2011 PPV boxing schedule will look like. The likelihood of a mega Pacquiao–Floyd Mayweather mega-fight next year is iffy at best.
The two camps still have yet to agree on random drug testing procedures, and Mayweather’s recent legal issues could further complicate the making of what could be the most lucrative PPV fight of all time.
While sports fans adore Pacquiao, it’s unclear how many of them will continue to dish out $50 to see him fight anyone other than Mayweather. Potential matchups against Shane Mosley or Juan Manuel Marquez will appeal to hard core fight fans, but probably won’t be attractive enough to reach mega-fight status.
At 31 years of age Pacquiao isn’t getting any younger, and with his new duties as a Congressman in his native Philippines, Pacquiao’s future ring appearances could be few and far between.
Operators should savior the final Pacquiao-Margarito PPV buy figures when they come in later this week – it might be the last major Pacquiao payday for a while.