Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Andre Berto fight generated little interest among boxing fans in the lead-up to the fight — and that indifference continued through the fight itself on September 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, as what Mayweather pledged would be the final fight of his undefeated career garnered only about 12 percent of the total pay-per-view buys that his previous fight sold.
Of course, the previous fight was Mayweather’s long-awaited showdown with Manny Pacquiao, who until losing a convincing decision had been considered Mayweather’s equal, if not better, by many boxing experts for the past five years.
While the fight itself was a disappointment, failing to deliver much in the way of close competition or action, the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight on May 2 totaled a record-shattering 4.4 million pay-per-view buys, nearly doubling the record set by Mayweather’s fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
But Saturday’s fight against 32-year-old Andre Berto was met with near-total indifference, selling only 550,000 pay-per-view broadcasts, according to sources who revealed the number to the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.
ESPN boxing correspondent Dan Rafael reported the same number, but his sources called the 550,000 total a “generous” estimate.
Even if the number is accurate, it would still leave the fight as Mayweather’s worst pay per view showing since November 4, 2006 — 12 fights ago — when Mayweather easily won the WBC welterweight title from overmatched Argentine slugger Carlos Baldomir. That fight generated only 325,000 pay per view buys.
Pacquiao, who had been seeking a rematch with Mayweather even though the American has insisted that the Berto fight was the last of his 49-fight unblemished career, was apparently so unimpressed that he now says he doesn’t even care whether he gets to fight Mayweather again.
“Whether there is a second [Mayweather fight], it’s not a problem,” Pacquiao told the Guardian newspaper. “I heard he has retired, so it doesn’t matter.”
Mayweather’s final pay-per-view number was even lower than he reportedly scored for his 2013 fight against another outclassed opponent, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. That fight is believed to have taken in about 850,000 buys.
Nonetheless, the Showtime cable network which held Mayweather’s contract for the last six fights of his career — or what Mayweather says are his final six fights — was over the moon with the superstar’s performance at the box office.
“We generated over 10 million pay-per-view buys, nearly $800 million in gross domestic pay-per-view revenue,” said Showtime VP Stephen Espinoza, though he added that last weekend’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Andre Berto fight “was going to feel like a bit of a letdown.”
[Image: Ethan Miller / Getty Images]