Oscar De La Hoya’s box office appeal was on full display Saturday, even if his boxing skills weren’t.
HBO PPV’s Dec. 6 De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao fight, in which the lightweight champion battered the "Golden Boy" into submission in the eighth round, drew 1.25 million buys, making it the first PPV boxing event in 2008 to top the 1 million mark.
The fight, which generated $70 million in PPV revenue, is only the fourth non-heavyweight event to reach 1 million buys -- all four featuring De La Hoya. Topping the list is the 2006 De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather fight, which drew 2.4 million buys, followed by the 1999 De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad and 2008 De La Hoya-Pacquiao fights (1.25 million buys) and the 2004 De La Hoya-Bernard Hopkins bout (1 million buys), said HBO.
“De La Hoya-Pacquiao definitely exceeded our expectations,” said Mark Taffet, senior vice president of sports operations for HBO. “We hoped that fight would hit the 1 million buy mark, which is the barometer for mega fights in this sport, but we were uncertain given the state of the economy. We were really pleased that boxing fans everywhere showed tremendous support for the fight.”
Taffet wouldn’t speculate on De La Hoya’s future, but said Pacquiao – whose previous PPV fights have generated in the range of 300,000 to 400,000 buys, has the opportunity to become a major PPV draw. “Pacquiao is now a breakthrough star with a number of big fights on the horizon,” Taffet said, although he would not reveal any potential opponents.