- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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The Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez junior middleweight unification fight last Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas indeed lived up to its billing as "The One."
Showtime, which broadcast the fight on pay-per-view, announced Thursday, along with promoters Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, that Mayweather's dominant decision victory shattered the all-time record for highest-grossing pay-per-view fight of all time, generating $150 million in revenue from 2.2 million pay-per-view buys.
"This is what we anticipated when we formed our partnership with CBS/Showtime (in early 2013) -- record-breaking results," Mayweather Promotions chief executive Leonard Ellerbe told ESPN.com. "We're just ecstatic and we want to thank the fans for supporting this promotion. It was a lot of hard work.
"Everybody busted their behinds but Floyd has tremendous star power and the ability to attract new fans with the support of Showtime and CBS with their plethora of platforms that we were able to utilize. It's just been remarkable. It's the best working with the best."
The $150 million in pay-per-view haul broke the record set by Mayweather's decision victory against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. That fight generated $136 million from an all-time record 2.48 million pay-per-view buys. Adjusted for inflation, Mayweather-De La Hoya would be worth $153 million in today's dollars.
The $150 million and 2.2 million buys will likely increase as all of the buys are accounted for, giving the fight an outside chance to also break the buy record. Mayweather-De La Hoya was initially announced at 2.15 million buys and then amended a couple of months later when more of the numbers were tallied.
The only pay-per-view events to top 2 million buys are Mayweather-De La Hoya and Mayweather-Alvarez.
"I'm very happy for the fighters. They will make substantial amounts of money from the upside, a lot more than their guarantees," Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com. "But I am happy as well for the sport of boxing. This is a vote of confidence for the sport and one would have to be an idiot to keep saying this is a dying sport like some people have said. This shows you the strength of the sport of boxing and that boxing today continues to deliver huge numbers that very few other sports can deliver in one night.
"This fight will gross over $200 million when you take into account all of the revenues. Besides pay-per-view, there's the gate, the foreign television, the sponsors, the closed circuit, the merchandise. Many of those (revenue streams) also broke records. In this fight records were broken."
Mayweather was guaranteed $41.5 million with Alvarez's guarantee in the $12 million neighborhood, but both will earn substantially more based on their deals, especially Mayweather, who controlled the promotion and will keep the bulk of the profits.
"Floyd has a chance to make 100 million in this fight," Ellerbe said. "Floyd Mayweather been saying it over and over for years – he's most dominant athlete in all of sports and he's getting paid accordingly."
According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the sellout crowd of 16,146 generated an all-time record gate of $20,003,150, topping the $18,419,200 generated by Mayweather-De La Hoya. Mayweather-Alvarez would fall second behind the inflation-adjusted gate of $20.7 million in ticket sales sold for Mayweather-De La Hoya.
Mayweather-Alvarez also set a Las Vegas closed-circuit record, selling out 26,163 tickets for a gross of $2,615,360. The fight was the second of the 30-month deal for up to six fights that Mayweather signed earlier this year with Showtime/CBS after leaving longtime broadcast partner HBO/Time Warner.
Mayweather, whose May fight with Robert Guerrero did not come close to matching expectations, plans to fight twice more again in 2014, beginning with a fight in May. No opponent has been determined.
"Records are here to be broken," Schaefer said. "People told me in 2007 with Mayweather-De La Hoya that it was impossible to break the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield pay-per-view record, that we were living in a different time. Well, you know what? We broke the record.
"This is not the end. Records will continue to be broken and as I am standing here we will break the records again. That's what motivates me – to get more and more people interested in boxing and if the best fight the best, you will see more records fall."
Showtime replays the bout, along with the junior welterweight championship fight co-feature between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse, on Saturday night (9 ET/PT).
Information from ESPN.com Business Reporter Darren Rovell was used in this report.
Showtime, which broadcast the bout, announced Thursday afternoon that the fight, in which Floyd Mayweather prevailed by a majority decision, now ranks as the highest-grossing pay-per-view fight of all-time with $150 million in revenue reported to date.