A real heavyweight in pay-per-view stats

Times Staff Writers

And the new pay-per-view champion of the world is Oscar De La Hoya.

A record 2.15 million buys for De La Hoya’s split-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday night on HBO Pay-Per-View generated a record $120 million in revenue.

Those numbers, released Wednesday, pushed the totals for 18 pay-per-view fights involving De La Hoya to 12.6 million buys and $612 million in revenue, both record highs.


Also, no boxer has ever made as much off one fight.

Counting his share of the pay-per-view, live gate, closed-circuit showings and merchandising, De La Hoya’s total purse, according to two sources, will exceed $50 million.

Mayweather’s take is expected to be $20 million.

Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted Saturday night’s bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, said only that De La Hoya’s purse will make him the top-earning athlete of the year.

The previous single-fight pay-per-view record for buys was 1.99 million for the second Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield match in 1997, when Tyson was disqualified after biting both of Holyfield’s ears. The previous record for revenue was $112 million for Tyson-Lennox Lewis in 2002.

Tyson now ranks No. 2 for pay-per-view revenue at $545 million, followed by Holyfield at $543 million. In buys, Holyfield has a slight edge over Tyson for the No. 2 spot, 12.59 million to 12.4 million.

Ross Greenburg, HBO Sports president, confessed he originally didn’t believe Mayweather-De La Hoya could hit the elusive 2-million-buy mark.

“But as we approached the fight, I started to dream about it,” he said, encouraged by the numbers that “24/7,” HBO’s four-episode reality series on the boxers, was averaging: 4 million viewers a week.

“That series helped generate newspaper and magazine coverage,” Greenburg said. “It dug deep into the human side of the fight.”

Also helping to boost interest in the fight was an 11-city promotional tour.

“That was huge,” Greenburg said. “It started with the two fighters visiting media row at the Super Bowl. What made it such a success was Mayweather casting himself as the villain and Oscar being his normal charismatic self. That lit a fuse.”

Of the 2.15 million buys in 176 countries, 1,225,000 came from cable subscribers and 925,000 from satellite subscribers.

There were 28,000 closed-circuit buys at $50 each in Las Vegas alone, and there were about 2,000 closed-circuit locations nationally.

A replay of the fight, in which Mayweather improved to 38-0, will be shown on HBO Saturday night at 10. The replay show, which was taped at HBO in New York on Wednesday, will include new interviews and an eight-minute recap of the “24/7" series.

Although both boxers have discussed the possibility of retirement, the record revenue makes a rematch a point of intrigue.

“I talked to Oscar about that this morning and he said he wanted to be smart about it,” Schaefer said Wednesday. “He doesn’t need to make a decision in a few days. If he wants to retire, or have a rematch, I don’t know. He has told me he didn’t feel like the loser, he clearly didn’t get beaten up.

“He just needs some distance from this, and at the end of that it’ll solely be about his desire to continue or not.”

De La Hoya’s wife, Millie, is pregnant, and he has expressed enthusiasm for spending more time caring for her and his young children.

“You can make reasons for his retirement and for a rematch: It was a good, close fight, why not build on that huge financial success?” Schaefer said. “But Oscar’s also accomplished so much: winning the gold medal, being a six-time world champion, becoming the biggest pay-per-view draw in history.”

Of the fight’s success, HBO’s Greenburg said, “The sport of boxing is alive and well. If it isn’t, how do you explain this? The naysayers can go take a nap.

“I also think this shows if you have the right fight with the right personalties, boxing can still deliver a huge audience.

“I think the goal now should be, bring these kinds of fights to the American public more often. We shouldn’t have to wait another five years for a fight of this magnitude.”



A knockout

Top pay-per-view fights (in millions):

*--* Fight Date Households 1. De La Hoya vs. Mayweather May 2007 2.15 2. Holyfield vs. Tyson II June 1997 1.99 3. Lewis vs. Tyson June 2002 1.97 4. Holyfield vs. Tyson I November 1996 1.59 5. Tyson vs. McNeeley August 1995 1.55 6. De La Hoya vs. Trinidad September 1999 1.4 6. Holyfield vs. Foreman April 1991 1.4 8. Tyson vs. Bruno March 1996 1.37 9. Tyson vs. Ruddock II June 1991 1.25 10. Holyfield vs. Lewis I March 1999 1.20 11. Holyfield vs. Douglas October 1990 1.06 12. Tyson vs. Seldon September 1996 1.01 13. De La Hoya vs. Hopkins September 2004 1.00 14. De La Hoya vs. Mosley 2 September 2003 950 15. Tyson vs. Ruddock I March 1991 957



Source: HBO