A new and possibly unbreakable record of pay-per-view buys was set by the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight on May 2, with Showtime and HBO announcing Tuesday that 4.4 million people purchased the welterweight title unification bout.
Mayweather’s unanimous-decision triumph at MGM Grand in Las Vegas generated more than $400 million in sales. With closed-circuit sales, a near $75 million live gate and international broadcast fees, the event created “well over” $500 million, according to a Showtime spokesman.
Previously, the 2007 Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya bout generated a prior-record 2.5 million buys, and Mayweather’s 2013 victory over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez established a record $150 million in pay-per-view sales.
Those records succumbed to an avalanche of sales that actually overwhelmed several national cable and satellite companies in the minutes before the fight, delaying the start time.
The long-awaited showdown, which collapsed over drug-testing, purse and ego disputes since 2009, was generally panned by fans and experts alike.
Mayweather’s victory, by scores of 118-110, 116-112, 116-112, was a technical showing by the winner as Pacquiao labored, later reporting he had suffered a right shoulder injury in an April 4 sparring session.
He said he aggravated the injury in the fourth round, and was reduced to seeking only a left-handed knockout punch that was never delivered as Mayweather improved to 48-0.
In a news release, it was noted the bout was “distributed in 175 countries worldwide.”
Also, the bout “drew enormous numbers on social media. For example, Facebook reported that 37 million unique people contributed more than 115 million interactions from the start of the event to 30 minutes following its completion, a new record for a boxing event.”