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Mayweather is pay-per-view powerhouse

29
Apr

LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. likes to crow about how he’s the biggest thing in boxing, the pay-per-view king. And he might have an argument. He rivals even the biggest pay-per-view stars, Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya, according to HBO pay-per-view guru Mark Taffet.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Mayweather said.

De La Hoya is the biggest pay-per-view star ever in terms of total buys and total revenue. The Golden Boy fought 19 times on pay per view, generating 14.1 million buys and $697 million. No one can touch him in that regard.

Mayweather has fought only six times on pay per view but has generated 5.5 million buys and $292 million in revenue. His average revenue per fight — $48.67 million – is the highest in pay-per-view history.



One might point out that 2.44 million of Mayweather’s total buys come from his fight against De La Hoya in 2007 and ask: Is it De La Hoya, the bigger star at the time, who deserves most of the credit?

Not necessarily. Taffet said the difference between the then non-heavyweight-record 1.4 million buys of De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad and the 2.44 million of De La Hoya-Mayweather can be traced to Mayweather’s fan base.

“The large urban centers across America made up the majority of the increase,” Taffet said. “That indicated to me that Floyd Mayweather has tremendous pay-per-view prowess and was driving the urban centers of America.

“Floyd Mayweather played as big a role (in the success of the promotion) as De La Hoya did.”

Tyson did huge pay-per-view numbers, generating the second and third largest number of buys against Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis (a reported 1.99 million and 1.95 million, respectively). However, the total revenue he generated — $545 million — falls short of De La Hoya.

That can be attributed in part to his timing: He came before the marketing opportunities on the internet and HBO’s reality TV series 24/7.

Taffet likes to tell the story of a whistle-stop train tour to promote George Foreman’s pay-per-view fight against Tommy Morrison in 1993. Foreman bemoaned to Taffet on the train that he wasn’t in position to take full advantage of the new medium because of his age.

“That guy is the one who will benefit,” Foreman told Taffet, pointing to a young man sitting a few rows in front of him: De La Hoya, who was fighting on the undercard.

And Mayweather probably had even better timing than De La Hoya. His rise to superstardom coincided with the rise of 24/7, a terrific marketing tool for any fight. Mayweather has been featured on the Emmy-winning show four times, two more than De La Hoya and anyone else.

The vehicle has allowed Mayweather and his opponents to connect with young fans, the most-important demographic for the future of boxing.

“Floyd has let fans see all sides of him, athlete, entertainer, father, son, nephew, all those things, not just on a professional level but a personal level so that fans can have deeper connections with him,” Taffet said. “ÔǪ At the same time internet digital and social media have undergone an unprecedented explosion.

“The combination of those two factors make it a 1+1=4 phenomenon that has fueled his meteoric rise in his popularity and pay-per-view numbers.”

The numbers Mayweather and De La Hoya generated — about 400,000 buys more than any other fight — are understandable after a chat with Taffet.

Mayweather has strong support in the urban markets, De La Hoya was a huge figure in the growing Hispanic community and both of them crossed over to other ethnic groups to a good degree. On top of that, theirs was the first 24/7.

Could Mayweather-Mosley challenge the record? Taffet won’t go there but most educated observers are predicting it will do around 1.5 million, which is a very big number and would be deemed a success.

And it would solidify Mayweather’s place as the top pay-per-view star. He has a guaranteed purse of $22.5 million for the fight, Mosley $6.75 million-$7 million.

Punch stats: Some people don’t put much stock in CompuBox statistics but the best fighters seem to put up the best numbers.

Consider Mayweather and Mosley. Mayweather has the biggest differential between punches he lands and punches he takes in his last five fights, 32 percent. The next six: David Haye, 21 percent; Vitali Klitschko, 17; Andre Ward, 14; Mosley, 13; Joshua Clottey, 13; and Wladimir Klitschko, 13.

Mayweather has landed 17 of 38 punches thrown per round (45 percent) in six welterweight fights, Mosley 18 of 48 (38 percent) in 13 147-pound fights. The average for a welterweight is 19 of 58 (33 percent).

Mayweather’s opponents land 7 of 47 per round (15 percent), Mosley’s 13 of 52 (25 percent).

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