By Craig Pearson on July 22, 2014
The success of boxing PPVs tend to have ups and downs depending on a number of issues, including the main event, promotion, undercard and financial climate of that particular time. PPV shows really exploded in the 1990s, with the superstar that was Mike Tyson, but it's never easy for promoters to find a star fighter who can create the necessary demand to make a PPV show a success. It can be done, though, as these 10 PPVs exemplify.
Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad were both unbeaten stars in 1999, and the clamor for a fight between the two was huge. So huge, in fact, that when the welterweight unification fight did take place on Sept. 18 in Las Vegas, it set a then record for a non-heavyweight fight with 1.4 million PPV buys and $ 71.4 million in PPV revenue.
Manny Pacquiao exloded onto the PPV scene in the mid 2000s and established himself as one of the two biggest stars in boxing, and amongst the most recognizable faces of all sports. The Pacman's fight with Shane Mosley in 2011 performed better than expected, bringing in 1.3 million PPV buys and $ 75 million in PPV revenue.
Before losing to Pacquiao, Mosley lost to Floyd Mayweather first, but made his way into the this top 10 list twice because of both fights. Mosley's fight against Mayweather eventually came in with 1.4 million PPV buys and a PPV revenue of $ 78.3 million.
Mayweather's win in his 2011 fight with Victor Ortiz was unsportsmanlike in some peoples eyes, but what was not arguable was the success of the PPV. The show brought home 1.25 million PPV buys and created a PPV revenue of $ 78.44 million.
Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield were supposed to fight in 1990, but Tyson's shocking loss to James "Buster" Douglas in Japan brought a sudden end to those plans. In 1996, the two fighters finally faced off on Nov. 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the response was 1.59 million PPV buys and $ 79 million in PPV revenue.
Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto was a matchup that was hugely anticipated for years before it actually came to fruition in 2012. The PPV was a huge success and some credit for a portion of that success should also go to a then 21-year-old Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who fought Shane Mosley on the undercard and no doubt pulled his weight in selling the show too. PPV buys of 1.5 million were achieved, and a PPV revenue of $ 94 million.
Mike Tyson was a PPV superstar for his unpredictability as much as for his boxing talent, and the ultimate example of that came in his rematch against Evander Holyfield. Out of sheer frustration, in only the third round, Tyson bit a chunk from Holyfield's right ear and was shamefully disqualified by referee Mills Lane. The fight created huge interest with 1.99 million PPV buys and a PPV revenue of $ 99.8 million.
In the late 1990s, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson was one of the most hyped and anticipated heavyweight fights for a long, long time. Unfortunately, the fight didn't take place until June 2002, and although the hype and anticipation were still strong, the same could not be said for both fighters. Tyson was no longer at his best, but the fight still pulled in 1.95 million PPV buys in America, which generated a whopping $ 112 million.
Before Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya faced each other, the PPV records were largely dominated by heavyweight fights. That all changed, however, in May 2007 when Mayweather and De La Hoya broke all records with 2.46 million PPV buys and a PPV revenue of a staggering $ 137 million for their clash. It's a fight which established Mayweather as a PPV star and laid the foundation for the future PPV successes in his career.
For a long time, the Floyd Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya PPV record looked out of reach. That all changed, however, when Mayweather fought Mexican superstar Saul Alvarez in September 2013 in Las Vegas. The fight pulled in 2.2 million PPV buys and generated a breathtaking $ 150 million in PPV revenue. Only one fight in boxing today could even challenge this record, and that is the eroding Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight.
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