Keep in mind these are simply early estimates, and a more final number will come in soon, but Carlos A. Nava of the Dallas Morning News reports that the talk is good for pay-per-view buys for Saturday's fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. If projections hold -- or are credible -- then the word is the fight could do around 1.4 million buys in the United States, which would be double what Pacquiao did in March against Joshua Clottey.
1.4 million was also the accepted number for May's big fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley. Until now, Mayweather has generally outperformed Pacquiao on pay-per-view, both against common opponents, and in fights that came around the same time period. Mayweather doubled Pacquiao earlier this year, but in the final third of 2009, Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto did 1.2 million compared to the Mayweather-Marquez fight, which did one million. In December 2008, Pacquiao's fight with Oscar de la Hoya, the former undisputed king of PPV, did 1.25 million. When Mayweather fought Oscar in 2007, they set an all-time record with 2.44 million sold. Mayweather also did better numbers against Ricky Hatton than did Pacquiao.
Also if the numbers hold, it may actually be a setback to the already-limited possibility of making a Pacquiao-Mayweather/Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in 2011. Money has been an issue among any number of things, and if Pacquiao equaled Mayweather's biggest non-Oscar PPV with this one, there's not a single solitary shot in hell that Pacquiao and Top Rank will settle for anything less than 50-50. The fight's already a longshot, and if Mayweather chooses to be the slightest bit greedy, you could count it out for sure now.
The other piece of good news is that fans saw an entertaining main event fight this time, as well as a more enjoyable undercard than usual, save for the stinker performance from ultra-talented, ultra-safe super bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux against Ricardo Cordoba. The Mike Jones-Jesus Soto Karass scrap was pretty good, and the opener between Brandon Rios and Omri Lowther had as much action as you could hope for two guys who came in on short notice.
The numbers could be a bit below this, or right around this area, or even possibly well below this. You know how these things go sometimes if you've paid attention to figures over the years, which mostly come out only if everyone is super happy, and sometimes Bob Arum can be tough to please (see: Hatton-Pacquiao). If there's an official HBO release, you'll know the champagne is flowing at Top Rank's offices.