Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times reports that Miguel Cotto will make $5 million and the lion's share of the pay-per-view percentages for his December 3 rematch with Antonio Margarito. Margarito will make a $2.5 million guarantee.
One thing I want to note before we talk about the rest of this: This fight makes the deal that Victor Ortiz took to fight Floyd Mayweather look pretty horrible. Ortiz was guaranteed $2 million for that fight and probably didn't get a whole lot more otherwise, with TMZ saying yesterday that he made about $2.5 million total. Margarito is getting that as a guarantee for a far smaller event, and he's paid as the B-side here, too.
To compare other notable fight guarantees in recent big bouts, Shane Mosley made $6.7 million to fight Mayweather and $5 million to fight Pacquiao, and Juan Manuel Marquez is being guaranteed $5 million to face Manny in November, with a $10 million guaranteed purse for a fourth fight should Marquez pull the upset. In March, in a fight that wasn't even on this level, let alone a Mayweather or Pacquiao fight, Cotto made a $1 million guarantee against Ricardo Mayorga, a low payday for Cotto, but then again it was a low-end fight for him, too.
So while I admire Ortiz's balls in taking the Mayweather fight, I can't help but think he got lowballed and pretty well screwed. Sure, it was a career-high payday for him, and he was the obvious B-side, but not getting at least a $5 million guarantee for that fight is kind of shocking, I think.
Anyway, obviously both Cotto and Margarito are being paid pretty much their highest value at this point for this fight, which Top Rank must really believe will once again be a pay-per-view seller. In 2008, they did about 450,000 buys for the first fight, but I think it's fair to say that both were more popular and closer to their best days in 2008 than they are here in 2011.
So what can we expect in terms of PPV buys? I honestly couldn't even wager a confident guess at this point. A lot will depend on the general attitude toward boxing, and specifically toward PPV boxing, going into that fight. Hopkins vs Dawson on 10/15 might not play much of a role there, since it's a totally different kind of fight and on PPV for a totally different reason, but Pacquiao vs Marquez on 11/12 could be a factor. If somehow the main event of that show sucks (I doubt it will), then I think Cotto vs Margarito could take a hit coming at the end of four straight months with expensive pay-per-view shows. Add in the fact that the show is being held during the gift-buying season that tortures so many wallets, and the fact that Showtime is offering a really good bantamweight double-header for free that night, and there might be some trouble.
There's also a money quote (pun...perhaps intended?) in the article, as Cotto was asked why he's fighting Margarito when previously he said he would not:
"What other names are out there for me to make money against?" Cotto asked. "Floyd, Manny, and Antonio."
Someone mentioned middleweight champion Sergio Martinez's name.
"You think Sergio Martinez will make me this kind of money?" Cotto asked.
Cotto has been accused of "ducking" Martinez, but frankly given that Cotto has never fought over 154 and Martinez fights at 160, I can't see that as a true duck. And I think sadly, he's right: Martinez is a terrific fighter, but he struggles to bring in many fans, and I don't know what his appeal is past serious boxing fans. Not that he couldn't have broad appeal, mind you (I think he's a charismatic, exciting fighter who could have been a star), but he doesn't have a major money promoter and given the middleweight division around him, he's not got the great chances for bigger fights than the fights he's in now.