With no HBO "24/7" dedicated to the event, an unknown B-side fighter in the main event, and an undercard that while not notably weak certainly didn't help matters, industry chatter is that the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight last weekend did around 650,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States, with the final number likely to be near 700,000.
Even the highest end number there (700K) would put it well below recent numbers for major "event" fights. Last year, Hatton-Pacquiao did around 825K, followed by Mayweather-Marquez at 1 million and Cotto-Pacquiao at 1.25 million. But I'd also say that this shouldn't have been unexpected, and it should be considered a success and testament to Pacquiao's drawing power.
Perhaps most importantly, this could prove to be roadblock No. 732 in making Mayweather-Pacquiao ever happen. Without any question, the buys for Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fight with Shane Mosley on May 1 will obliterate this number. If all really goes well, Mosley-Mayweather could triple the buys for Pacquiao-Clottey, which would mean there is absolutely no way in hell that the Mayweather camp will acquiesce to a 50/50 split with Pacquiao if they ever get back to the negotiating table. I think Pacquiao-Mosley could've done great numbers, too, but the fact of the matter is that Mayweather was able to line up the better fight commercially, and it's also the better fight in terms of challenge. It may have been more happenstance than anything, but to the victor goes the spoils and all that.
Mayweather, should he beat Mosley and negotiate with Pacquiao, will probably look for at least a 60/40 split at this point. If he and Mosley do really mega numbers, around two million buys or so (which is not as out of the question as it might seem to some, I believe), then he might even open with something absurd like 70/30.
To get back to the Pacquiao-Clottey number itself, though, it's really pretty incredible when you think about it. The man has grown into a serious superstar. I'm sure there will be the dullards that laugh about this number as though it's some sort of "proof" of something heinous or disastrous, but think back to March 2008, when Pacquiao rematched Juan Manuel Marquez. In boxing circles, that fight was just about 100 times more highly anticipated than Pacquiao-Clottey, at least as I remember it. That fight sold to about 400,000 homes, which was an incredible number, and still a record for a main event fight with boxers that size (they were at 130 for that fight).
Now, with Clottey, who not only isn't a mainstream fighter by any stretch, but also doesn't have the incredible Mexican boxing fan following, Pacquiao has sold at least 650,000 or so PPVs. We're talking about at least a quarter million more people buying Pacquiao-Clottey than the highly-anticipated Marquez-Pacquiao II. Not bad.