Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather makes his much anticipated return to the ring against Robert Guerrero on Showtime PPV. Mayweather is undeniably the PPV king in any sport in the world. At this point in his career the undefeated superstar is surely to bring in at least one million PPV buys even if he was stepping into the ring with a mirror. One million is good, however that is not the number projected by Showtime and Golden Boy. They expect 1.5 million. And with a lackluster opponent, and a one year lay-off after serving a 60 day jail sentence, the buzz around his latest fight seems to be absent making us wonder if 1.5 million is about as far as a longshot as Guerrero actually winning the fight.
I often judge the popularity of a fight by the people I surround myself with every day. Living in a town that loves sports, but isn’t too high on boxing, perhaps gives me both the advantage and disadvantage as to figure out big an actual fight is. With big boxing cities like New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and states like California and Texas, thousands of miles away, I sometimes wonder if I can make an accurate prediction as to how well a fight will sell. My advantage is that by not living in a town that craves boxing I’m able to see how the general public perceives a fight. When Mayweather fought Miguel Cotto, there was buzz around here. Right now however, there is not. In fact, most of my surrounding peers actually have no idea that Floyd Mayweather is even fighting Saturday night. These are guys that hate him too, guys that paid to see him lose against the likes of Sugar Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto. To me, these are guys that turn an one million PPV buy event into a 1.5 million PPV event. And with that interest not there, one has to wonder how well this fight is going to do.
Last week the guy next to me at work asked me when the next Mayweather fight is. I nearly laughed. Is he that oblivious? Or is the fight drama just not there? He claims he’s a boxing fan but has no idea who Canelo is. Yet, he paid for Mayweather’s last fight against Cotto. When I told him that Floyd is actually fighting in two weeks, against a tough guy named Robert Guerrero, he didn’t seem that interested. He will probably not buy it.
Showtime, CBS, and Golden Boy have spent countless hours promoting this fight. With documentaries on both networks, and spreading across cable television to ESPN and BET, they have stopped at nothing to make this event huge. They expect 1.5 million, but will they get it?
While I believe that losing Canelo on the undercard will hurt, the biggest reason for this fight lacking his Mayweather’s opponent. If history can tell us anything, it’s that Mayweather’s highest PPV revenue fights have been against star power opponents such as Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and the obvious Oscar De La Hoya, generating an average of 1.8 million buys. Those three guys were stars, and they were dangerous foes. His lowest revenue fights were against guys like Victor Ortiz, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Ricky Hatton, generating an average of 990K buys. Guys that were popular but not PPV stars on their own.
Robert Guerrrero, despite his great attitude and ability to win fights, is the least exciting opponent, both in the ring and outside of it, of all the guys above. I believe that is the reason the street buzz around this fight is lacking. While they have showcased Mayweather brilliantly over the last few months, the ability to sell Guerrero to the public has failed. Not just as a person, but as a guy that has a legitimate shot to beat Floyd. Floyd said that “People will pay to see me lose.” He is right. But the problem is people will not pay to see him lose if they don’t truly believe the guy he is fighting can beat him. They believed in Cotto, they believed in Mosley, the believed in Oscar. They did not believe in Ortiz, Hatton, or Marquez. They do not believe in Guerrero.
Now don’t get me wrong. Floyd will easily sell one million. And I think that’s good. But what they expect is something much higher. The biggest question is, have they done enough over the last few months to generate that extra 500k buyers that they have been trying to catch? From my standpoint, I say no. I think it does 1.1 million, which to me would be a success with an unpopular opponent and lack of Canelo to help the sell. One thing is for sure, this fight is going to sell solely on Floyd Mayweather. Not his opponent, not Canelo, just him. And for the first time we will get to see what kind of number Floyd can do when it’s all on him since. One million plus would be an accomplishment in my opinion.