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Friday, May 10, 2013
Mayweather not as 'Money' as usual

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still the "Money" man, but not quite as much as he has been in the past.

Mayweather's lopsided decision against Robert Guerrero to retain his welterweight title May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will "definitely exceed 1 million buys," Stephen Espinoza, head of Showtime Sports, told ESPN.com Friday.

The total, however, will fall short of Mayweather's recent pay-per-view events.

"We still don't have complete numbers, but we've seen the dish numbers and some of the cable numbers to be comfortable saying we will definitely exceed 1 million buys," Espinoza said Friday. "We can't tell how much it will exceed 1 million, though. That's going to be determined by the reporting [from cable systems] that will come in over the next few weeks."

If the fight did 1 million buys, that would be a gross of at least $60 million, what with the pay-per-view cost of $59.99 in standard definition and $69.99 in high definition, although about half of that money goes to satellite and cable systems.

The fight was the first for Mayweather -- boxing's biggest star and the active pay-per-view king -- under a new deal he signed earlier this year with Showtime/CBS that calls for him to fight up to six times in a 30-month span, which has been widely reported to be worth in the $200 million range. Mayweather's purse for the fight with Guerrero was $32 million, although he will make more based on additional revenue from the promotion.

The pay-per-view sales for the fight with Guerrero will not approach the 1.5 million Mayweather generated for his fight last May with Miguel Cotto, his last fight before leaving longtime TV home HBO for the Showtime/CBS deal.

In Mayweather's fights before Cotto, he generated 1.2 million pay-per-view buys against Victor Ortiz, 1.35 million against Shane Mosley and 1.1 million against Juan Manuel Marquez. In 2007, Mayweather set the all-time pay-per-view record with Oscar De La Hoya, the A-side of that fight, with a whopping 2.48 million buys.

Espinoza said he's happy with the results of the Mayweather-Guerrero fight, even though he had predicted they would equal the Cotto fight.

"We are absolutely satisfied," Espinoza said. "We are pleased with the result. From a financial perspective, we are completely satisfied. We consider it a success. From a programming and fight fan standpoint, we consider it to be a very successful event.

"Looking at the numbers, for Floyd do to a million buys, and conceivably more, when it was one of his lesser-known pay-per-view opponents in the last six or seven years, that is a testament to his drawing power. Would we have liked to match the Cotto numbers or the De La Hoya numbers? Absolutely. Was that realistic? No, not with an opponent not nearly as well-known as Cotto or De La Hoya.

"I would have loved to [do 1.5 million buys] but the more accurate fight to compare it to is Ortiz. I take nothing away from Guerrero. He was a game competitor. He fought hard and belongs in the top tier at 147 pounds, but from a pure business perspective, he is not particularly well known and [has] not been in huge, marquee fights. So we are happy with the results."

In figures released Friday by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Mayweather-Guerrero generated a gate of $9,922,350 from 14,258 tickets sold. The commission said there were 1,459 complimentary tickets given, and 139 tickets went unsold.

The gate figure puts the fight 16th all time in Nevada history, just behind the $10,393,950 in ticket sales generated by Mayweather's 2007 fight with Ricky Hatton and just in front of the $9.84 million generated by the Shane Mosley-De La Hoya rematch in 2003.

In addition, the Nevada commission said an additional 8,333 tickets were sold for closed-circuit viewing at MGM properties in Las Vegas for an additional $416,650 in revenue.

Showtime will debut the delayed broadcast of Mayweather-Guerrero, along with Abner Mares' featherweight title-winning ninth-round knockout of Daniel Ponce De Leon from the undercard, on Saturday (9 p.m. ET/PT).

Mayweather plans to fight again on Sept. 14. Espinoza said he hopes a fight between Mayweather and junior middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the 22-year-old Mexican star, can be made for that date -- which is Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer, who promotes Alvarez and has worked on Mayweather's past seven fights, told ESPN.com on Thursday that he's already started discussions to make the fight.

"I'm cautiously optimistic," Espinoza said of getting a Mayweather-Alvarez fight finalized. "There's a lot of negotiating left to do, but often the biggest hurdle is convincing one fighter or the other to take the fight. That hurdle has been cleared. I truly believe Mayweather wants Canelo and that Canelo wants Mayweather, and that's half the battle."