With the official announcement that reigning middleweight champion Miguel Cotto will face Canelo Alvarez on November 21 on HBO pay-per-view, boxing has what many will see as its true big fight for the final third of 2015. The announcement coming on the heels of a ridiculed Floyd Mayweather vs Andre Berto match being made for September 12 probably helps the fight look even better, too.
So here's a question for you fight fans: will Cotto-Canelo outsell Mayweather-Berto on pay-per-view? There are a few things working for and against each fight.
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- Has Floyd Mayweather, who is the single biggest pay-per-view draw in the game.
- Is being marketed as Mayweather's last fight. Even if that doesn't turn out to be true (and seemingly few believe that it will), there could be a rush to see him for the last time.
- Berto brings no appreciable fan base to the fight.
- The fight is an obscene mismatch according to oddsmakers, which could turn people off.
- Mayweather's last fight with Manny Pacquiao was so scathingly reviewed, particularly by the casual audience that pay-per-views need to hook to be successful, that it could well significantly impact this fight's sales.
- Not a fight that anyone was demanding or even particularly wanting to see.
- Has only about a month of build-up.
- A fight that has been demanded for a while now.
- Two star fighters, both bringing a significant fan base, and renewing the Puerto Rico vs Mexico rivalry.
- Can be effectively marketed as an action fight.
- Will have HBO machine behind it, which does matter. As big as Showtime is, they are still not HBO, and that gap has widened again in 2015.
- Will have three months of build-up.
I honestly can't think of anything here that would harm this fight's ability to sell.
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Now, that's not to say that because this fight has no negatives on paper, that it will definitely outsell Mayweather-Berto. The question is more if Cotto-Canelo is strong enough to be bigger than a fairly weak Mayweather fight. The idea may seem simple, but it might not be. Mayweather-Berto still has the biggest star in the sport, and if enough people believe it's his last fight and that makes it must-see for them, it should still do quite well.
Of course, chances are we will never know an OFFICIAL! number for Mayweather-Berto. Numbers will "leak" to various reporters, and will be accepted as reality, but there will still be some people who will discredit that because Showtime's Stephen Espinoza kinda melted down a little after Mayweather-Guerrero was said to have sold only 850,000 in Floyd's Showtime debut, and vowed to not release numbers unless they're record breaking. (Which is why we did get OFFICIAL! numbers for Mayweather-Canelo and Mayweather-Pacquiao, but not for Floyd's fights with Guerrero or Marcos Maidana.)
So what do you think? Does Cotto-Canelo outsell Floyd's Last Fight, or is the Mayweather brand strong enough to beat out what is objectively a better fight?