ESPN's Dan Rafael recently tweeted that the early pay-per view (PPV) numbers for the WBC Welterweight title fight between current pound-for-pound boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero, which took place on May 4, 2013, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, "looked bad."
After "Money" signed a record-breaking deal with Showtime, a low buy rate in their first venture together was the last thing the network wanted to see.
But, according to Showtime Sport's executive Stephen Espinoza, those reports were a bit premature. Appearing on "The MMA Hour," Espinoza says the event did in fact go over the one million buy mark:
"There were early reports as early as Tuesday, 72 hours after the fight, about what the (PPV) results had been, which is really way too early, from my perspective, to speak meaningfully about this. So when enough data had come in that we were able to speak meaningfully, which was probably Friday, that's when we went ahead and confirmed that we will definitely be over a million buys. I'm not sure exactly how much over a million it will be, whether it be a little or a lot over a million, a lot of that depends on how some of the lagging buys come in and are reported over the next few weeks, but we definitely hit the million buy threshold."
And while some fans didn't feel they received what they paid for as Mayweather outclassed "The Ghost" for 12 rounds, Espinoza labeled the event an "absolute" success. Especially seeing as how Mayweather didn't have a "huge name" opponent to help him draw at the box office.
"Being completely candid, I have a lot of respect for Robert Guerrero as a boxer. He put up a game fight, but in the pay-per-view industry, and in that world, he wasn't a huge name. And for Floyd to be able to generate a million buys when he didn't have the benefit of a name opponent, is really a testament to Floyd's drawing power."
With his latest victory in the books, Mayweather is looking for a quick turnaround, planning to return to the squared circle on Sept. 14 2013, just four months between fights.
Who that challenge comes against is still a mystery. However, Espinoza says he remains optimistic that a potential clash against undefeated (42-0-1) Mexican sensation Saul "Canelo" Alvarez can actually come to fruition:
"I'm still cautiously optimistic. I think that's a fight that makes sense for both guys, and both guys want it. There are details to work out; weight is one of them. But, those things, I think, can get worked out when both fighters want the fight."
Though he wouldn't go into deep detail, Espinoza expects Mayweather's opponent to be announced in a few weeks. Should it be a clash against "Canelo," the Showtime Sports head honcho believes it has the potential to break the two million PPV buy mark.
"The goal is always to set a new record, the record being 2.5 million (pay-per-views buys) with De La Hoya and Mayweather. ‘Canelo,' as much of a star as he is, doesn't have the awareness that Oscar did as the time of the Mayweather fight, but he has a lot of heat behind him. So, 1.5 (million), 2.5 (million), I'd be happy with any of those. At the end of this, really, the consumer decides. We put the message out there, we try to inform people about how we see the fight, and either it catches on or it doesn't with the consumer. We're just trying to put the best product on the screen."
Alvarez is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Austin Trout last month, retaining his WBC Light Middleweight title and earning the WBA and "The Ring" division straps.
And while topping the high-water PPV mark Mayweather and de La Hoya produced in 2007 would be a difficult task, Espinoza is confident "Canelo" and "Money" cant get close to it or even surpass it.
Who wants to see it?