Saturday, December 02, 2023  |



Mayweather vs. Berto: The numbers are in … sort of

Fighters Network
Photo by Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Photo by Ezra Shaw / Getty Images


The numbers are in, or at least enough of them, to give a good sense of how much the people did or did not embrace the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Andre Berto going-away promotion.

Lightly billed as Mayweather’s last in-ring appearance, basically because it seems not a single soul believes the man will stay retired, the Saturday, Sept. 12 pay-per-view seems to have been purchased somewhere between 400,000 and 550,000, according to several reports.

Whatever the number, it stands as the weakest outing for Mayweather since he asked people to pay up to watch him fight Carlos Baldomir in 2006. That was his fourth PPV outing … and he followed it up with a monster event pairing with Oscar De La Hoya.

Reasons to excuse, or explain, the tepid response were furnished by Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza.

“To a large extent, anything we did coming off of that massive May 2 event was going to feel like a bit of a letdown,” Espinoza told Yahoo! Sports. “We didn’t have available a really compelling list of available opponents. There’s been a lot of speculation about a lot of things but when you got down to it, there wasn’t really a long list of available guys and none of them were slam dunk-established stories or really compelling storylines.”

He’s not BS-ing; any bout, short a tangle with WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, was going to pale in comparison. The potential foe list was indeed weak, made a bit weaker by the political divide, which makes a potential like Tim Bradley a no-fly zone.

Espinoza told Yahoo! he was happy he and his gang did that six-fight deal with Floyd and that he’d do it again. Makes sense, being that the gross for the May 2 extravaganza was enough to override potential losses in other bouts. Word was that Mayweather was guaranteed no less than $32 or $33 million per outing in this deal but Espinoza, in a Twitter back-and-forth a month back, told me that tidbit about a guarantee was erroneous. If not written in stone, Mayweather did get a base of $32 million or more for fighting Robert Guerrero, Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana twice, Manny Pacquiao and then the adios tussle with Berto, so I’m not sure if there was a semantic situation in play…

Espinoza has insisted time and again that Showtime was never awash in red ink from any of the scraps and, all told, I think all can agree he pulled a coup, business-wise, hitching onto the Mayweather wagon. He tends to play cat-and-mouse with numbers when they are not stellar, leading to some epic Twitter rumbles with, for one, Dan Rafael of, who has accused Espinoza of fabricating the upside of the buy number.

We’d heard that there was talk of an extension months back, then that was denied and the storyline that this was Mayweather’s last fight was thrown out there. It’s interesting to speculate what sort of extension might be crafted. One has to think, but never assume, that HBO wouldn’t be into bidding to regain Mayweather’s services. The bad blood between Team HBO and Al Haymon, I think, makes a re-marriage unlikely but Mayweather is his own man and until one knows, one doesn’t know. I’ve heard that talk centered around a two-fight deal, fight Nos. 50 and 51, so I will leave that to you all to chew on, what bouts might fill in those blanks.

Next for Mayweather is more promoting and, I guess, relaxing and, as he’s said, extra focus on his kids. After he was locked up for striking his ex, in front of a few of his kids, it seems like he’s been dedicated to being a better paternal figure. That’s admirable and reason enough to quit fighting…

Espinoza told the New York Daily News that he’s pondering a Mayweather reality show. I noted that Twitter response to that was sub-tepid; seems like most fight fans have had their fill of the rinse-and-repeat efforts, which boast shopping and bragging and car buying. But again, I never underestimate the ability of entertainment folk to package personas which might, on the surface, seem sub-sublime and build them into a successful brand.

“Cough … Kardashians … cough.”

Anyway, we are less than a week into the post-Mayweather era and it will take some getting used to. There will be more talk of the PPV numbers. I’m sure as Manny Pacquiao continues to heal up and the building of the new MGM arena firms up, Mayweather will be in the news once again. Yeah, he ain’t going away; boxers really never do. Lennox Lewis hanging them up and letting them stay there is the exception to the rule.


Who needs blockbuster PPV numbers when you’ve got blockbuster tweet numbers like Woodsy?