Showtime's Espinoza Talks Mayweather PPV Numbers
Floyd Mayweather put on a thoroughly masterful showing Saturday night in Las Vegas, I dare say surprising a ton of folks who thought that he'd deteriorated with age. No, he made a darn fine fighter like Robert Guerrero miss like a Golden Gloves neophyte time and again, and again proved to me that there is nobody from 140-154 who can beat or maybe even truly test him. I'd love to see him tell us all to go to hell for critiqueing him, and shut our smart mouths once and for all by challenging Andre Ward at a catch-weight, and fighting and beating him...though I know the chances of this are the same as me waking up tomorrow with a full head of hair and a 30 inch waist. Keep on dreaming, cueball...
The nattering nabobs and gleeful jackals have been out in force since Sunday morning, taking to Twitter to dissect every aspect of the Mayweather-Guerrero promotion, from the buildup to the actual scrap and now the numbers. Word leaked out that the fight might come in under expectations, perhaps doing less than 1 million buys. I called Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza (seen flanked by Leonard Ellerbe and Floyd Mayweather in above John Filo-Showtime photo) to see if he had some numbers, on the record, to share with us.
"The bottom line is we don't have enough information to estimate meaningfully," Espinoza told me. "We have partial numbers, in far less than half the total market. I'm not prepared to project, all of this speculation and doom and gloom is premature. It's ridiculous."
And when will us jackals, I mean journos, get our grubby fingers on the numbers? Thursday or Friday, Espinoza said.
And what about those stories and Tweets which talked about the potential impact if May Day did under a million buys? "The speculation about what the ultimate number is and what the financial impact is, is completely unwarranted at this point," he said. He said only a tiny handful of people within the realm of the promoter and fighter and network coterie know the true structure of the deal: "I can assure you none are writing media stories."
So, is he happy with the affair as a whole? "Absolutely, I'm happy with the programming, how the company as a whole activated all platforms, happy with the event itself, happy with the fights we gave to those who bought the pay-per-view," he said. "We're happy with the result. And we're pleased with the numbers we've seen so far.
I'm not a huge numbers guy, as I think that obsessing over monetary figures plays into our lesser traits. We in this nation tend to equate money with value, with success, and tend to ignore traits that are more admirable. Kindness, and compassion and empathy are values which heighten someone in my eyes; Donald Trump is a world class deebag, no matter what his net worth is. End rant...But sometimes I do indulge. I was wondering myself, if Mayweather doesn't net that 1.2 million PPV number of hardcore fight fans in the US who can be relied upon to pony up, what does it mean? Well, Floyd nabbed 1.2 buys against Victor Ortiz, who might have been more well known than Guerrero leading up to his Mayweather fight. Floyd got roughly the same when he met Juan Manuel Marquez, who had the benefit of being a known PPV draw from his bouts with Manny Pacquiao. Floyd got 1.5 for Cotto, who is the third largest PPV draw in the game, and a shade under that for Shane Mosley, who is known to even a casual boxing fan. Yeah, I don't get the sense that Showtime goes into panic mode if Mayweather-Guerrero doesn't do as well as Mayweather-Ortiz. My guess would be that they'd tweak some things, including solidifying Mayweathers' next foe quite soon, to give a bit more time to build the PPV audience for his next fight, which we still presume to be Sept. 14.
In the days after the Mayweather win, I confessed to Espinoza, I didn't envy him. He chuckled and I told him why. One, because expectations for him, for the deal, are so high. Two, because I wonder if he isn't in a tough spot, stemming from the return of Floyd Mayweather Sr. to Junior's corner. I think a less defensive oriented Floyd leaves happier buyers in his wake, because defensive prowess is most appreciated by purists, not the mainstream. A Roger-cornered Floyd might be a more offensive minded boxer.
"I think it's one hundred percent good, Floyd Senior being with Floyd," Espinoza answered. "It can prolong his career and as the most skilled and accomlished fighter of his generation I'd like to see him perform at a high level as long as possible. I think some of the fans being dissatisfied with his performance Saturday had more to do with his hand than his dad returning. Everyone saw how swollen it was after the fight. If that doesn't happen I think we see a more aggressive second part of the fight, and he gets a KO, and everyone goes home happy."
Espinoza said x-rays showed there was no break in the right hand, and Floyd is still on track to fight in September. Against who?
"The obvious matchup is Mayweather-Canelo, and I believe both want the fight," he said, "though as usual we know it's not as easy as it seems to get things done. He wants to get in the ring quickly."
When will we know his next opponent? "We should know in the next couple weeks, next two to three weeks."
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