Amid his many troubles, Floyd Mayweather Jr. probably cracked a smile on Tuesday because he remains boxing's undisputed pay-per-view champion.
Mark Taffet, the senior vice president of sports operations and pay-per-view at HBO, announced that the Nov. 13 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito sold 1.15 million units and generated $64 million in pay-per-view revenue.
The figure made Pacquiao the first boxer in the pay-per-view era to have a bout sell in excess of 1 million in three consecutive years. Pacquiao sold 1.25 million with Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 and 1.2 million with Miguel Cotto in 2009.
However, the number was under the predictions of Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who was expecting no fewer than 1.25 million purchases. HBO Pay-Per-View didn't release a figure until 10 days after the fight, which is unusually late, in an obvious effort to be able to announce as high a number as possible. Pay-per-view sales often continue to drag in for months, and, in some cases, years, though the final figure normally doesn't change appreciably. The 2007 Mayweather-De La Hoya fight recently surpassed 2.45 million, Taffet said.
Taffet asserted that the Pacquiao-Margarito fight "performed exceptionally well." He also said that since Pacquiao's past five pay-per-view bouts have sold a combined 5.1 million, it is a "true measure of his pay-per-view superstar status."
But Mayweather, who is facing up to 34 years in jail on felony and misdemeanor charges related to a Sept. 9 domestic violence allegation in Las Vegas, continues to sell better than Pacquiao. The Mayweather-Shane Mosley bout on May 2 sold 1.4 million. Mayweather did nearly twice as well with De La Hoya as Pacquiao did, and his 1 million sales for a September 2009 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez were well more than Pacquiao did in two fights against the great Mexican champion.
Arum was expecting bigger numbers for the pay-per-view sales because of the extraordinary media coverage the fight received, pointing to publicity such as the Pacquiao profile that appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes" the Sunday before the fight.
The Pacquiao-Margarito bout attracted 41,734 fans to Cowboys Stadium, which is 9,260 fewer than Pacquiao did for the March 13 fight in the same venue against Joshua Clottey. Arum attributed that decline to the fact that the $35 so-called "party passes," which afforded fans a standing-room ticket, weren't sold for the Margarito fight.
Pacquiao's pair of 2010 fights sold 92,728 tickets, an extraordinary number for boxing. The two bouts in Texas likely generated a combined paid gate of approximately $13 million, given the ticket pricing structure for Pacquiao vs. Margarito. That's only about $2 million more than the paid gate of $11.03 million for the Mayweather-Mosley fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Texas has not yet released the official gate report from the event.