Kevin Iole of Yahoo! said on his Twitter that he's heard from "good sources" that Saturday night's fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley did around 1.1-1.2 million buys on pay-per-view, a figure that while impressive and realistically should be celebrated, would have to be seen all-around as a disappointment.
For one thing, it surely doesn't meet the four million homes that Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions was insanely talking about last week, but then anyone with a brain knew that was pure crazy talk.
But honestly, this would be an under-performance by what I personally expected, too. I figured around 1.5 million, maybe a bit more. This is lower than I thought it would be, but I'm not shocked. A bit surprised, yes, but not terribly so.
I think there are a few factors here, so let's run them down list-style. The number might be a bit higher than this at the end, or a bit lower, but it's going to be somewhere in this neighborhood.
- Shane (clap) Mosley (clap) is not (clap) a pay-(clap)per-view (clap) attraction (clap!). Look, Floyd wasn't wrong when he said that. It was strange reasoning at the time, but he was right. Mosley has never been an A-side in his biggest fights, and he wasn't one here. But...
- He is a bigger star than Joshua Clottey, and that's not even a close debate. Clottey, for as good as he is, is nobody. Mosley is at least a B-side. So if the idea is why this still greatly outperformed Pacquiao-Clottey from March (700K), that's a big reason. This was, simply put, a better fight, and much easier to sell.
- There are perhaps still a lot of people who just didn't see the value in this show OR Pacquiao-Clottey. Not after Mayweather-Pacquiao was dangled in front of them and then yanked back for two lesser fights against what you could pessimistically call a who's that? and an old man. That's not how *I* viewed either fight, but I ordered Jones-Hopkins II along with about 100,000 other suckers, so I'm not considering myself the gauge of how the public sees fights.
This sort of reminds me already of the 2009 fight between Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao. The way Bob Arum talked up that fight's potential business, he was planning to buy Sealand and turn it into a casino that featured rhinoceros fights. When it came back at a very good 800K or so in the States, Arum tried to hide the number as if it were something he should feel shame over.
Like that fight, this one was talked up too much by the promoters. "Oh, we've got this tracking." I have no tracking, but I can tell you that this fight never took off in the anticipation department the way other recent super fights have. That's not a knock on this fight, it's just something I noticed. Frankly, this paled in comparison to the late-week surge of interest we saw last year for Mayweather-Marquez, and wasn't close to Pacquiao-Cotto or even Pacquiao-Hatton. It still beat (if these numbers are correct) all of those fights except Pacquiao-Cotto in buy numbers, which is a testament to (1) Mayweather's popularity and/or appeal, (2) the fight being a very good matchup on paper, and (3) a resurgence of interest in boxing, in general, especially Mayweather and Pacquiao fights.
Honestly, it's a number that everyone should be quite happy with, but that won't be the case. If you stick your neck out and talk about four million buys (ridiculously), then when it comes in at a reasonable number that came from the planet Earth, people are going to ridicule it, the number's going to seem vastly disproportionately disappointing, and you don't even get to celebrate making a ton of money, at least not properly.