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Despite allowing himself to be mired into the domestic violence controversy involving ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, it doesn't appear it hurt Floyd Mayweather at the box office.
A source who has been generally reliable on such numbers confirmed that Mayweather's rematch with Marcos Maidana on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden sold 925,000 pay-per-views. That is 25,000 better than their May fight, which sold roughly 900,000.
Showtime adopted a company policy earlier this year of not releasing pay-per-view figures, so Stephen Espinoza, Showtime's executive vice president and general manager, declined comment.
It was a difficult fight week for Mayweather, who weeks prior to the bout was embroiled in a controversy with hip-hop star Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson over Jackson's claim that Mayweather is illiterate. He was also sued by a former girlfriend who accused him of assault, battery and false imprisonment, among other charges.
The week of the fight, Mayweather made tasteless comments regarding the video of Rice knocking out his wife with a left hook. Though he later apologized, the outrage never died down.
Rachel Nichols of CNN and Sarah Spain of ESPN both called on fans to boycott the fight.
It doesn't appear to have had any impact. A cable source with knowledge of the situation said sales on DirecTV were five to 10 percent higher than Mayweather-Maidana I. AT&T's uVerse service was 20 percent up. Yahoo Sports got conflicting reports on the performance of Dish Network, with one source saying it was trending 20 percent higher and another saying it was down from Mayweather-Maidana I. The cable numbers aren't all in, but appear on par with the first fight, with some systems up and some down.
The fact that Mayweather didn't hit one million – and has only done so in one of his four fights on Showtime – shows the difficult climate that exists to sell pay-per-view. His bout with Canelo Alvarez last year did 2.2 million and set a record in revenue. Mayweather-Maidana I was 900,000 and it is believed though not confirmed that his bout with Robert Guerrero sold 840,000.
Pay-per-view numbers are down across the board. The Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez fight in June was well below expectations, and Manny Pacquiao's fight with Timothy Bradley in April didn't quite reach 800,000. UFC's pay-per-view numbers are down from their peak in the past.
So given everything, 925,000 for a rematch few fans called for is not bad for Mayweather.
Showtime will broadcast the replay on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. It will also air the Leo Santa Cruz bout in which he knocked out Manuel Roman.