The numbers, according to Home Box Office, were 1.25 million pay-per-view buys, at the high asking price of $54.95 each (more for the high-definition version). That breaks down to $70 million in revenue. The way it works is the cable operators get half of that, and the remaining $35 million is divided up between everyone who has a piece of the fight.
It is only the fourth time a non-heavyweight title fight has generated more than 1 million buys. Of course, the other three were all De La Hoya fights — 2.15 million vs. Floyd Mayweather last year, 1 million against Bernard Hopkins in 2004 and 1.4 million vs. Felix Trinidad in 1999. If you don’t think De La Hoya is the Golden Boy, consider that a fight of some note between the then-rising star of boxing, Kelly Pavlik, and one of the legendary boxers of his time, Bernard Hopkins, drew just 190,000 pay-per-view buys in October.
I hope the talk about Mayweather ending his bogus retirement and coming out to fight Pacquiao is true. That is a fight that has some high-end promotional and credibility buzz. However, it’s likely that Pacquiao may take a fight first against Ricky Hatton, who he should easily dispose of, and make a lot of money in the process — though nowhere near the money he made with De La Hoya.
HBO makes the distinction between heavyweight and non-heavyweight fights, because traditionally heavyweights bring in the most money. That’s a quaint notion now, because I can’t see under any conditions any heavyweight fight on the horizon that would come close to bringing in 1 million suckers.
De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao will be replayed this Saturday, Dec. 13 at 4:45 p.m. on HBO, along with a live heavyweight title fight from Germany between champion Wladimir Klitschko and challenger Hasim Rahman — another heavyweight farce (there will be another replay of De La Hoya-Pacquiao at 10 p.m.).
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM Friday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com.