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Arum: Mayweather-Pacquiao could bring in 4 to 5 million PPV buys

arum4By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, the promoter for WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), is predicting that Pacquiao’s fight against WBA/WBC 147lb champion Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0, 26 KOs) on May 2nd will be bringing in between 4 to 5 million pay-per-view buys in their joint broadcast on HBO and Showtime.

It was originally estimated that the fight might hit 3 million buys to break the record of 2.4 million PPV buys set by Oscar De La Hoya vs. Mayweather in May of 2007 in Las Vegas. Mayweather recently came close to equaling that record with his 2.2 million PPV buys against Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in their fight in September 2013.

“I think we’re going to go over 4 million [pay-per-view buys] and it could be closer to 5 million,” Arum said via ESPN last Friday night. “The interest is unbelievable. People who don’t follow sports and who certainly don’t follow boxing are caught up in this event. Everywhere I go people are talking about it.”

Arum figures that Mayweather will make $120 million if the fight makes $300 million. Of course, that estimate is based off of a fight that brings in 3 million pay-per-view buys.

If the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight brings in over 4 million buys or even 5 million, it’s going to increase that $120 million that Mayweather makes by a substantial margin. He could in theory walk away with more than $200 million if the fight brings in 5 million pay-per-view buys. But this is all wishful thinking on Arum’s part, because there’s no telling whether the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight will even bring in 3 million PPV buys.

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What we do know is that the hype for the fight hasn’t yet taken off through the roof yet the way the interest was there for the Mayweather vs. De La Hoya fight. That was a fight that had boxing fans super excited the moment it was first announced.

The interested stayed high all the way up to the fight. With Mayweather-Pacquiao, Mayweather’s not helped by the fact that Pacquiao was beaten by Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. Pacquiao hasn’t faced anyone that you can call a big name since those losses.

Yes, Pacquiao avenged his loss to Bradley, but that wasn’t a fight that generated a lot of interest or pay-per-view buys. Pacquiao has seen his pay-per-view numbers drop due in part to the poor match-making that Arum had done for him in putting him in with Brandon Rios, Bradley, and Chris Algieri.

Pacquiao hasn’t been able to redeem himself from his loss to Marquez, and that obviously hasn’t helped his popularity any. The match-making that Arum has done for Pacquiao has kept him winning, but at the expense of his popularity. So in other words, Pacquiao is coming into the Mayweather fight not in the same position he was when the two of them first tried to negotiate a fight in 2009. Back then, Pacquiao hadn’t lost a fight in four years, and he was at the height of his fame with him having knocked out a lot of guys like Ricky Hatton, De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto.

The position Pacquiao is in now is that he hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2009, and that hasn’t helped his popularity. Mayweather is in a position now where he’s the main guy that is attracting interest in the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, and he’s going to be expected to single-handedly bring in the vast majority of PPV buys in America.

What that means is we’re probably not going to get the huge numbers that Arum is talking about in the fight bringing in 4 to 5 million pay-per-view buys. I think it can hit 3 million, but I don’t expect it to be much more than that due to Pacquiao’s deteriorating pay-per-view numbers.

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