The May 2 welterweight title unification fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao set new all-time boxing records for pay-per-view (PPV) buys and gate revenue, making it the highest grossing pay-per-view event of all time.
Initial figures released Thursday by distributors Showtime and HBO show that the fight grossed 4.4 million PPV buys, generating more than $400 million revenue in the U.S. alone, with more than $500 million expected globally.
The figures nearly doubled the previous record for PPV buys and more than doubled previous revenue records, according to ESPN.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission also announced earlier on Tuesday that the fight set a new record of more than $72 million in gate revenue from sale of more than 16,000 tickets for the event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The previous gate record of $20 million, according to ESPN, was set in the 2013 junior middleweight title unification fight between Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez. The fight generated $150 million in PPV revenue.
The 2007 junior middleweight fight between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya held the previous PPV buys record at 2.48 million.
According to Bob Arum, Top Rank Chairman and Pacquiao’s promoter, there had never been any doubt that the fight would set new records. What pundits were speculating about was how high the numbers would be.
“I think it was something we knew we would beat the prior record, but we didn’t have any reasonable expectation that it would exceed it by as much as it did. We were confident it would go over 3 million (PPV buys), maybe do 3.5 million on the outside. But it just caught fire.”
Arum said the initial figures were only conservative estimates and that the final figures for PPV buys are expected to exceed 4.5 million.
With PPV revenue having exceeded expectations, Mayweather and Pacquiao — splitting the net revenue 60/40 percent — would earn much more than previously expected. Mayweather could earn up to $250 million, while Pacquiao could earn more than $120 million.
Despite the huge financial success, boxing enthusiasts are unanimous that the fight failed to live up to the hype.
Although, he had initially offered a rematch with Pacquiao, Mayweather later retracted, describing Pacquiao as a “sore loser.”
“Did I text Stephen A. Smith and say I will fight him again? Yeah, but I change my mind. At this particular time, no, because he’s a sore loser and he’s a coward. If you lost, accept the loss and say, ‘Mayweather, you were the better fighter.'”
Mayweather was referring to the complaint from Pacquiao after the fight that he was nursing a shoulder injury before the fight.
Pacquaio’s statement that he had suffered a shoulder injury during training has generated a number of lawsuits from people complaining that they were defrauded of their money because the injury was not revealed before they bought the PPV.
Many pundits, including Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels and the Guardian’s Patrick Connor, are asking what is next for boxing after the “Fight of the Century.”