The Real Cash Cow – Pacquiao or Mayweather – of the Sweet Science (part 1 of 2)
By Matt Matel: Two paths are bound to collide sometime between March to May of 2010. Amidst all the talk of the possibility of the bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. not coming to fruition because of purse issues and varying out of the ring vocational interests, many still believe that this is the bout that would put boxing back in the map, back to being relevant again. The movers and shakers of the sweet science even went to the far extent of saying that letting this bout pass would be doing sport of boxing and its fans a great deal of injustice. To eloquently quote Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer: “We’d be stupid not to let this fight happen.”
And as forthright as it might’ve sound there’s just not way for me to disagree with it.
Beneath all pulls and tugs of the negotiations, to begin with the bout itself is a match up of complete contrasts. The battle is between one of the most technically gifted craftsmen to ever laced boxing gloves and a fighter who has a habit of moving up and down weight divisions while leaving a trail of destruction in blowing out opponents.
These two fighters represent the seemingly dichotomous character of boxing: they are the yin and the yang of the squared circle, the modest and the boastful, the slugger and boxer, the warrior and the fighter. Yet despite all the name calling, everything boils down to one struggle, and in there are no differences in this one, right now its simply ego against ego. Both have proven to be the sport’s top draws, both claim that they are the Golden Boy’s rightful heir as the cash cows of boxing having the ability to make time stop while the world in awe watches every blow they land, every hard hand they receive and every warrior they dismantle.
The belief that one is superior to the other in terms of generating fight revenue, prompts both parties to assert the claim that both deserve the lion’s share of the potentially lucrative $ 80 M purse. This notion will likely cause a stalemate in the pre-fight negotiations, potentially jeopardizing the fight from happening at all. Such dilemma has prompted yours truly to make an in depth analysis as to who should be crowned as the main rainmaker of boxing. Quite a number of boxing journalists are drawing comparisons based on the performance of both fighters on 3 similar opponents they faced in the past 3 years. This article will seek to scrutinize the different factors that were perceived to have affected the outcome of the fight at the gates.
Against Juan Manuel Marquez:
Pacquiao fought Marquez, March 2008
Mayweather fought Marquez, September 2009
Pacquiao fought Marquez at 130 lbs
Mayweather fought Marquez at 147 lbs
Pacquiao – Marquez II – 405,000 buys
Mayweather – Marquez – 1,050,000 buys
While it could be said that the Mayweather – Marquez bout earned almost 2.5 times more than the second outing between Pacquiao and Marquez, a number of arguments could be made about the fight.
1. History would prove that there seems to be a relationship between the weight/division in which fights are fought and the number of pay-per-view buys of the said bouts. No matter how good and scintillating two fighters are, the general public are still confined to the perception that bigger is better. As absurd as it might sound with the sport being dominated by welterweight/middleweight contenders the preference for the higher weight classes is still evident.
2. Golden boy promotions had an extended period of time promoting the bout. After PBF sustained a dubious rib injury during sparring the GBP was forced to move the fight two months after the initial date. This consequently gave the promotional outfit and HBO more time to build the hype and stir more interest in PBF’s comeback fight.
3. Pacquiao’s career was just about to fully take off, the time when the bout with JMM took place. Before his second outing with Marquez, Pacquiao was known to have retired ring legends in Morales and Barrera. The highest that he has gone in terms of pay-per-view buys was at 350,000 (third bout with Morales), although Pacquiao was already considered a boxing superstar back then, he obviously didn’t enjoy the iconic status that he now enjoys. He came from a so-so performance against Barrera, while PBF was already selling PPV’s in the millions and is coming of retirement and having two big matches with Oscar and Hatton prior to the hiatus, a peak that Pacquiao reached recently (with KO victories over Oscar, Hatton and Cotto).
Whilst the two points attempt to give Pacquiao more credit for the numbers his fight with Marquez generated, a weighty argument could still be made for Floyd: Marquez doesn’t have the fan base that Hatton and Oscar had. What ever brought the sales of the JMM/FMM fight to S 1.05 M buys, it wasn’t because of the Hispanic fan base of Marquez. Yes, majority of the live audience at the MGM Grand were of Mexican descent but they were not there to see Marquez win, they were simply there to see Mayweather lose. This is what the villain in Mayweather’s character brings to the fight. It brings animosity in the hearts of the fans of his opponent creating new fans for the underdog as the promotion creates a snowball effect. Everyone loves an underdog most especially if its against some one like Floyd, lets face his popularity no matter how tainted people perceive it to be sells fights, big fights.
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