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Guess the Buys for Mayweather-Marquez

Will these men be all smiles when the PPV numbers come back?
Will these men be all smiles when the PPV numbers come back?

Back in May, we did this for Hatton-Pacquiao. My own guess was 850K, right around the actual reported number of about 825-850K, which Bob Arum did his best to hide because it didn't cover all that insane gibberish about the fight breaking all the records in a depressed economy. Arum was seriously a bit mad with that talk.

A lot of people seem to totally misunderstand PPV numbers. 400,000 for Pacquiao-Marquez II is something I see made fun of a lot, with those dumbos not realizing that that was an all-time record for headlining fighters that size or smaller. UFC does great PPV numbers nowadays, and it's because they are -- without question -- a more popular brand of combat sports in America. You cannot dispute this, but it doesn't make lesser numbers "failures," either.

So how about Mayweather-Marquez? First off, a refresher for some recent PPV estimates, going back to 2007:

* This is the all-time PPV record ... ** This is the all-time PPV record for fighters of this size as headliners
Date Fight Buys
2007-05-05 de la Hoya-Mayweather 2.4M*
2007-12-08 Mayweather-Hatton 910K
2008-01-19 Jones-Trinidad 500K
2008-02-16 Pavlik-Taylor II 250K
2008-03-15 Marquez-Pacquiao II 400K**
2008-06-28 Diaz-Pacquiao 200K
2008-07-26 Cotto-Margarito 450K
2008-09-13 Casamayor-Marquez 100K
2008-10-18 Pavlik-Hopkins 195K
2008-11-08 Calzaghe-Jones 225K
2008-12-06 de la Hoya-Pacquiao 1.25M
2009-05-02 Hatton-Pacquiao 825K

Casamayor-Marquez was a Golden Boy-produced, HBO-distributed PPV, meaning it didn't get the sort of hype that most of these fights did (Diaz-Pacquiao is in the same boat as a Top Rank PPV).

The key factors tomorrow night:

  • UFC 103 is going head-to-head. This can't be understated. The last time boxing and MMA went head-to-head was November 2006, when Pacquiao-Morales III went up against a UFC card. Pacquiao-Morales "lost" that "battle," and UFC really wasn't as hot then as it is now. It's worth noting that a lot of people didn't feel Pacquiao-Morales was a PPV-worthy fight at that point. Morales wasn't exactly at his peak.
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr., whether his star is as big as he thinks or not (it's probably not), is the biggest star fighting tomorrow, hands down. Mayweather is a bigger domestic star than everyone on that UFC show combined. That's not a shot at anyone, it's just that the UFC show is loaded with good fights and headlined by Rich Franklin-Vitor Belfort. It's a show diehard MMA fans are likely to really enjoy. In a way, it kind of reminds me of Golden Boy's Lightweight Lightning PPV from April. No big stars, but lots of fights that promise to be interesting and exciting, and when it's all said and done, most people are likely to go, "Yeah, that was money well spent." But in terms of the big fight, Mayweather-Marquez is THE big fight tomorrow. Whether that can muscle past the UFC marketing machine and a good card is another story.
  • There are other ways to see this show, including movie theaters.

As for me, I think a lot of folks in boxing will be pleasantly surprised, and that a lot of folks who are -- for whatever reason -- rooting for this fight to fail gloriously are going to be one of two things: (1) Disappointed, or (2) As thick as they are now, meaning that a respectable number will be talked up like some massive failure by people who don't understand what they're talking about.

I'm guessing about 550K for this show and 500K for UFC. Believe it or not, I actually think there are that many people out there and maybe more that are totally willing to buy one of the two shows tomorrow night.

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