Chavez Jr vs Martinez did well on pay-per-view, with 475,000 buys and $24 million in revenue. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Last Saturday's HBO pay-per-view, headlined by the middleweight fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Sergio Martinez, had 475,000 buys, according to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, who spoke with HBO's Mark Taffet today.
Taffet also said that they were projecting 250,000 sales for the show, though I had heard they ("they" could be Top Rank or HBO or nobody, who knows) were talking 400,000 beforehand.
Either way, the show was a success on PPV, and brought in about $24 million in PPV revenue alone. Add that to a sold-out Thomas & Mack Center on fight night, and you've got a fight without Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, or even Miguel Cotto, which is a notable and true success for boxing.
The good news is it sold well, and that is good news. But there won't be much coming out of this -- unless it helps boxing's overall momentum, which it might but the sport always seems to lose that (about once a year, we think there's momentum, but the norm returns quickly). It's kind of a one-off thing for now.
Martinez didn't suddenly became a big-time headliner just because of this fight. Definitely, his stock improved and he's a bigger star now than ever before, but Sergio had trouble selling tickets before, and his HBO numbers were always mediocre at best. This alone isn't enough to propel him to the elite level as far as marketing and all that goes, because he wasn't close enough to that beforehand.
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As for Chavez Jr, his failed drug test will keep him out of the ring a while, and even with his dramatic 12th round rally, I don't think his star level raised at all with this fight. Of course, he was already a name, and he is the number-one reason this fight sold.
Martinez could be back on a pay-per-view his next time out if he were to fight Chavez Jr again, or Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, or Canelo Alvarez (or Manny Pacquiao). But aside from those guys, he'll be back on regular HBO. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but we didn't create a new PPV star here. Whether that's good or bad is up to how much you don't hate paying for PPV boxing, I suppose.
The competing card on Showtime, featuring Canelo Alvarez in the main event, set a new record for that network's boxing viewership, with 1.04 million watching the show.