In the history of combat sports, there have been less than 30 bouts which have exceeded 1 million pay-per-view sales. There have been only three which have touched or surpassed 2 million.
Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya set the record when they sold an astounding 2.45 million pay-per-view units for their 2007 super welterweight title fight in Las Vegas. Two Mike Tyson bouts, against Lennox Lewis in 2002 and Evander Holyfield in 1997, did 1.98 million.
Nothing else is close.
But on Tuesday at Mayweather's media day gathering in Las Vegas, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer predicted the upcoming Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden could set the record or, at the very least, surpass 2 million in sales. He told BoxingScene.com:
I'm basing that on early results from closed circuit. I'm basing that on sponsors' feedback. I'm comparing the [statistics from the] movie theaters. There you can track it very nicely. You can look two weeks before, for the [Victor] Ortiz fight or the [Juan Manuel] Marquez fight or the [Shane] Mosley fight ... How many tickets did you sell? And we can compare it to [our figures] now and we've been getting those numbers updated. I don't even want to say how much more [we've done than in previous fights], but if these numbers are going to translate to [pay-per-view buys], and the early indications are that they will because of the kind of feedback that we're getting. If those numbers in fact are true, I think we might break the record. Based on those early indications, it's unreal.
Mayweather did his part at Tuesday's public showcase to hype the show. He showered praise upon Cotto, but then predicted a victory by knockout. There is some semblance of pressure on Mayweather to perform, because Cotto was stopped by Manny Pacquiao in 2009 and fans who are desperate to gauge the various strengths and weaknesses of Mayweather and Pacquiao will pay close attention to that sort of thing.
Mayweather is never shy about predicting a win, but he doesn't frequently predict knockouts. This time, though, he told the Las Vegas Sun that he's going to take Cotto out.
This fight won't go the distance. He's coming in for the kill and I'm going in there for the kill. This is boxing, this is the hurt business, it's about excitement and that's what I'm here to do.
He told Las Vegas television station KLAS, Channel 8, that he considers Cotto undefeated. He dismissed the loss to Pacquiao because it was at a catch weight and he discounted Cotto's loss to Antonio Margarito because he said Margarito "got caught cheating."
That's not exactly accurate. There has never been evidence that Margarito cheated in his 2008 fight in Las Vegas against Cotto. But Margarito had an illegal knuckle pad in his hand wraps that contained a plaster-like substance prior to his 2009 bout in Los Angeles with Shane Mosley. After that came out, Cotto began to believe Margarito had loaded his gloves in their 2008 fight, as well. Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, has always denied anything was untoward with Margarito's gloves.