Pretty much every story in the boxing world can be tied back to one core issue: when will Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight? I don’t care how many Roy Jones Jr./Bernard Hopkins fights or Andre Berto battles they promote, there’s only one issue that matters to me and the general sports public: Mayweather and Pacquiao. While Pacman took care of business by destroying Joshua Clottey two weeks ago, Mayweather still has to hold his end up by beating the BALCO-less Shane Mosley. Assuming that happens in May, the two camps will be back to their familiar posturing as they try to negotiate a deal. As if the issue of drug testing didn’t already provide enough of a hurdle, now we have another one.
HBO announced Tuesday that the Manny Pacquiao/Joshua Clottey drubbing in Arlington generated 700,000 pay-per-view buys. Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s most recent fight, a win over Juan Manuel Marquez, produced a million PPV buys. Making matters worse for Manny, his fight with Marquez in ’08 generated around 400,000 PPV buys. Of course that figure is relative because Pacquiao’s popularity has exploded in the past two years and Mayweather’s fight was his first out of retirement, but it’s no less indicative of potential future problems. That Mayweather against a lesser name almost outdrew Pacquiao against a lesser name by 50% will be a sticking point in negotiations between the two.
Mayweather’s camp will use those numbers as leverage to say he’s the bigger draw and that he deserves a bigger share of the purse. Pacquiao’s camp will counter by saying that Manny’s a global figure and an equally large draw. While Floyd’s numbers are more impressive, here’s what I think the most fair way to settle it is: split the purse 50-50. Floyd can generate one million buys on his own and Pacquiao can probably generate around 700,000, but the two of them fighting against each other would cause numbers to explode — 3.5 million pay-per-view buys, anyone? The sum of their parts creates an intrigue that’s greater than each of their wholes. 50-50 split, guys. It’s the most fair way to divvy the millions.
Of course now we’re just going to see Mayweather lose to Mosley, but that’s besides the point.
Pacquiao-Clottey generates 700,000 pay-per-view buys [USA Today]