The June 17 Oscar De La Hoya-Shane Mosley pay-per-view bout was a financial and athletic success.
But it left some industry observers worried that the outcome-a De La Hoya loss-could tarnish a popular PPV draw.
The fight generated 700,000 buys and earned $37 million in PPV revenue, TVKO senior vice president Mark Taffet said. Operators put the buy count at closer to 625,000 to 650,000.
Taffet said the fight would be the second-highest-grossing nonheavyweight fight in PPV history, behind the $64 million generated in last September's De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad fight. The artistic success of the exciting match action also bodes well for a rematch and for the image of PPV boxing.
"The fight met our PPV expectations, but in the ring, it substantially exceeded our expectations," Taffet said. "When you get two world-class fighters at the top of their game giving their best effort, the industry benefits."
The rematch would certainly be a lucrative PPV event. But some operators are concerned that De La Hoya's image and PPV attractiveness may have taken a hit with the loss to Mosley.
While De La Hoya is currently the biggest PPV-boxing draw, losses to Trinidad and Mosley may have hurt his stature among boxing fans, which could affect future PPV sales. Another loss to Mosley could really damage his marquee value.
"If there are any future fights for De La Hoya, it's based on the next Mosley fight," boxing analyst and WFAN New York sports-radio host Tony Paige said. "If [De La Hoya] wins, he moves on. If he loses, I think he retires."
But Taffet feels that the performance only enhanced both boxers' reputations and should bolster the performance of the rematch and future bouts.
"If they fight again, I don't think either fighter loses any luster," Taffet said. "Instead, they're elevated to an even higher level [of awareness]."
TVKO and In Demand LLC have a two-fight deal that included a rematch provision if De La Hoya lost.
After the fight, De La Hoya intimated that he was considering retiring, but Taffet said TVKO was already negotiating with both boxers for a rematch.
Operators hope for a September De La Hoya event, but the fight may be pushed to October or even to January 2001.
"Because of the intensity level and competitive nature of the first fight, the Sept. 9 date is too soon to get back into the ring," Taffet said.
Some operators said they were disappointed by the fight's performance, although operators on the West Coast reported stellar buy-rates. De La Hoya and Mosley are both from the Los Angeles area.