Richest fight in history to shatter pay-per-view records
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The expectation in the much-awaited Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather duel to unify the WBO and WBC welterweight championships at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 2 will set a new record for pay-per-view buys with an early Forbes magazine estimate of a $250-million gross.

Mayweather has posted six pay-per-view hits of at least 1 million and holds the records for most subscriptions with 2.4 million in the Oscar de la Hoya fight in 2007 and the highest gross of $150 million in the Saul Alvarez bout in 2013. Mayweather won both fights by decision, a split over De la Hoya and a majority over Alvarez. He’s the only fighter to register two pay-per-view fights of at least 2 million buys, with De la Hoya at 2.4 million and Alvarez at 2.2 million.

Pacquiao’s resume shows five pay-per-view hits of at least 1 million but none over 2 million. His biggest-earning fight was against Sugar Shane Mosley in 2011, generating 1.3 million hits and a gross of $75 million. Of the top 10 highest pay-per-view grossers, Mayweather accounts for three with Alvarez at $150 million, De la Hoya at $136 million and Miguel Cotto at $94 million. The Pacquiao-Mosley fight is the ninth highest grosser in history.

Pacquiao’s other fights with over 1 million pay-per-view buys were against De la Hoya (1.25 million), Antonio Margarito (1.15 million), Juan Manuel Marquez 3 (1.25 million) and Marquez 4 (1.15 million).

While there is still no announcement of the pay-per-view prices, it is speculated that the high definition subscription with two undercard aperitifs will go for $110 and the standard rate will be $99.95. The Mayweather-Alvarez fight had a cost of $75 for high definition and $65 for standard, while the Mayweather-De la Hoya bout went for a uniform cost of $50.

A source from the Pacquiao camp said the gross receipts for the megabout could settle between $300 million to $500 million. The estimate may not be conservative but insiders insist it’s realistic, considering the impact of the fight that was over five years in the making. It could go down in history as the Fight of the Century.

MGM Grand announced that within three minutes of the fight confirmation, all the 6,852 rooms in the hotel complex were sold out. Las Vegas bookmakers installed Mayweather the 2-1 favorite with a $275 wager on Mayweather winning $100 and a $100 bet on Pacquiao winning $235.

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Here’s how experts and fans size up the big fight:

Former two-time world champion Gerry Penalosa: Styles make fights. Manny by late KO or decision. The role of the cornerman is very important because it will be a very tactical fight. Manny’s style is ‘contrapelo’ to Floyd. War, Manny, war!

ALA Boxing owner Tony Aldeguer: It will be a difficult fight to call. For the regular boxing fans, they will go for Manny because of his power. For the boxing purists, I am pretty sure they will go for Floyd because of his defensive skill and counterpunching ability. Manny is always bothered by a good counterpuncher as proven by Marquez. On the other hand, Floyd has not been impressive fighting southpaws and Manny is not just an ordinary southpaw. He is the best on the planet. Styles make fights. If by KO or TKO, it will be Manny but if by decision, Floyd could walk away the victor. Only when Floyd loses will there be a rematch. Manny will have to chase Mayweather from corner to corner and dish out all the punches he could give without giving Floyd the distance he needs to counterpunch. That is my own personal assessment on what could be the greatest fight of this century.

PBA superstar Asi Taulava of NLEX: I think Manny will KO Floyd by the 11th round. I don’t want it to go to the judges. We all know how they favor Floyd. I think Manny will be at his best for this fight and there will be a rematch, whoever wins.

Boxing promoter and manager Aljoe Jaro: In my opinion, Money needs to knock out Manny to win because if it goes the distance, Money won’t win because Manny will turn it into a streetfight.

TV5 Sports head and former Gilas head coach Chot Reyes: Manny by KO because Money’s never seen anyone as fast and fearless as him. There will be a rematch at the Philippine Arena which Manny will win again due to hometown support, thereby sending Money into retirement. That will also be Manny’s final fight.

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