Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza believes that it was inevitable that Floyd Mayweather's September 12 fight was going to be a massive step back in pay-per-view sales, and estimates have it between 400-550,000 sales, Mayweather's lowest performance since his 2006 fight with Carlos Baldomir, before Floyd became a legitimate pay-per-view star in 2007 by going up against Oscar De La Hoya.
"We didn't have available a really compelling list of available opponents. There's been a lot of speculation about a lot of things, but when you got down to it, there wasn't really a long list of available guys and none of them were slam dunk established stories or really compelling storylines."
As I mentioned on Twitter recently, and as Kevin Iole also lays out in the linked Yahoo! story, Mayweather's six-fight deal with Showtime may seem underwhelming in some ways. His fights with Robert Guerrero, Marcos Maidana (both), and Andre Berto did not bring in huge numbers. The first three brought in really good numbers, just not a million buys on pay-per-view. The Berto fight did poorly, particularly for Mayweather, but any disappointment in those four fights was more than covered by record-setting numbers for his 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez, and then record-destroying numbers earlier this year against Manny Pacquiao, even considering that fight was a joint promotion with HBO. If you cut that fight in half, it would still be an enormous event.
The PPV numbers for Mayweather-Canelo were 2.2 million and then-record overall revenue, while the Pacquiao fight reportedly did 4.6 million and set money records in every conceivable department. Those two fights alone were worth 6.8 million buys, enough for Mayweather to ultimately average over 1 million per fight on the deal. The other fights, essentially, were gravy, and the Berto fight in particular may have been more fulfilling the contract than anything else.
Espinoza says he'd do the same deal with Mayweather again "in a heartbeat," and when you look at the numbers like that, it's easy to understand why. Everyone is probably quite happy with how the deal turned out in the end.