Veteran fighters Roy Jones Jr. and Felix Trinidad showed Saturday that they still have some cachet among boxing fans, drawing a surprising 500,000 pay-per-view buys for their light heavyweight fight at Madison Square Garden.
The Jan. 19 fight, in which the 39-year-old Jones outpointed the 35-year-old Trinidad in a unanimous 12-round decision, generated $25 million for cable and satellite operators and Home Box Office’s pay-per-view arm, which distributed the event.
It was the second-biggest PPV performance for Jones, exceeded only by the 604,000 buys for his March 2003 match against then-heavyweight champion John Ruiz.
For Trinidad, who came out of a nearly three-year retirement to battle Jones, the fight was his third biggest behind the 1.4 million buys generated for his September 1999 encounter with Oscar De La Hoya and the 560,000 buys earned for his December 2000 square-off with Fernando Vargas.
“The fight’s buys exceeded all but two fights in 2007, which was a record year for HBO,” said Mark Taffet, senior vice president of sports operations for HBO. “It was an entertaining fight in the ring so the fans got their money’s worth.”
Taffet would not comment on published reports about a possible September rematch bout between De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.
Their May 2007 tussle, won by Mayweather in a decision, garnered a PPV record 2.4 million buys and $134 million in PPV revenue.