Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao
announced earlier this month that they will step in
the ring this spring. The problem is that they won’t be
fighting each other.
That’s been the song the cable industry has been
singing for the better part of two years. Everyone associated
with the sport and the PPV industry knows
that a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would most likely
draw the biggest payday in PPV event history, knocking
out the more than $120 million Mayweather and
Oscar De La Hoya punched up in 2007. Everyone
knows the fight would receive an unprecedented
marketing and promotional buildup from the mainstream
media, which could finally shine a positive
light on a sport that has struggled to stay relevant —
particularly with young people — up against the upstart
Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Everyone knows that both fighters would become
bigger celebrities than they already are and a bout would certify
their status among the greatest boxers of all time, win or lose.
And everyone knows that there’s a very good possibility that the
fight will never be made.
Depending on whose camp you’re rooting for, you can
point fingers at either Mayweather or Pacquiao for messing
up what is the only real big-ticket PPV boxing event possible.
But the fact remains that it hasn’t happened yet, and the
clock is ticking on the fight’s potential value.
HBO Sports’ new president, Ken Hershman, said as much
last month at a boxing-themed sports luncheon. The fight
has a “sell-by” date of late 2012 or early 2013 before people
will lose interest, he said.
You can only cry wolf for so long before people stop responding.
The public has a very short attention span and
even less tolerance for nonsense. They will only hold out
hope for a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight for so long before
they move on.
And they won’t continue to ante up $60 to $70 each time
Mayweather or Pacquiao get in the ring against other fighters.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Mayweather-Pacquiao
fatigue will set in when the buy-rate returns for Mayweather’s
May 5 fight with Miguel Cotto and, especially, Pacquiao’s June 9 encounter
against little-known PPV draw Timothy Bradley Jr. come in.
A fi nancial body blow to both fighters’ wallets may be the incentive
necessary to finally get them in the ring later this year.