Oscar De La Hoya may have barely shown up for his fight Saturday night, but pay-per-view buyers did after all.
HBO Sports says that De La Hoya’s loss to Manny Pacquiao generated 1.25 million buys and $70 million in PPV revenues, a very solid number given the economic climate.
It marked just the fourth time a non-heavyweight boxing match has hit the million buys mark, and was the biggest PPV event of the year.
Expectations for the pay-per-view buys had been downgraded significantly due to the floundering economy, but perhaps the number of sponsor-provided coupons may have helped offset the $54.95 standard definition price tag for some fans. A fight of this magnitude in better times should have flirted with 2 million buys.
And if you didn’t catch the probable end of the career of one of the most bankable athletes of all time on pay-per-view Saturday night, you will have another chance on December 13 without coughing up anything on top of your HBO monthly charge.
On Saturday night HBO is re-airing Pacquiao’s utter destruction of boxing (and pay-per-view) legend De La Hoya that took place December 6 in Las Vegas and on HBO PPV.
HBO will carry the replay following a live airing of heavyweight champion (well, one of them) Wladimir Klitschko taking on Hasim Rahman from Germany. The show will begin at 4:45 pm ET and HBO will re-air it that night at 10 pm ET.
De La Hoya’s loss probably (and hopefully) brings to an end a career that has created several of the biggest PPV events in boxing. A fight dubbed “The Dream Match” was a nightmare from the start both for De La Hoya and any promoter who was hoping to squeeze a few more paydays out of the twilight of De La Hoya’s fantastic career.
A fighter who was able to attract fans (translation: PPV buyers) from multiple demographics, De La Hoya showed he no longer can compete at the elite level, as he was outclassed from start to finish by a fighter considered by many to be the best at any weight class.
Pacquiao’s brilliant victory now sets up for next year what should be a thrilling fight with Ricky Hatton, an exciting brawler from the United Kingdom.
And HBO needs to make sure that fight is carried live on its cable network, not on pay per view, as it stacks up to be an advertisement that boxing as a sport has plenty of punch left.
Both fighters tend to fire punches at will, as opposed to the plodding pace of a heavyweight fight, for instance. Plus, with neither being a household name in the United States, a PPV strategy would not make much sense, especially given the economy.