This is why Showtime Networks guaranteed Mayweather roughly $200 million earlier this year.
After years of pining for Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to face off in the ring, Mayweather-Alvarez is the fight that fans want to see. It has the potential to be the second biggest non-heavyweight fight ever on pay-per-view and the biggest score yet for Mayweather in a career of eight-figure paydays.
Alvarez (42-0-1) won a unanimous decision last month against Austin Trout that attracted 40,000 people to the Alamodome in San Antonio. He is a star in the making and the most popular Mexican fighter with a massive following. There were concerns that Alvarez was too big for Mayweather, but the two boxers agreed to fight at a “catchweight” of 152 pounds (Mayweather usually fights at 147 pounds).
The event will take place in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand where Mayweather has fought his last seven bouts. September 14 is during the Mexican Independence Day weekend, which is always a hot date on the boxing calendar along with the first week in May for Cinco de Mayo.
Mayweather has been criticized for handpicking his opponents to pad his undefeated record, which reached 44-0 this month after he crushed Roberto Guerrero in a unanimous decision. The fight was the first for Mayweather after signing a six-fight deal with Showtime in February called the “richest individual athlete deal in all of sports” in a press release.
The Guerrero fight was a disappointment at the box office after a lot of hype, including two Mayweather documentaries, an appearance at the Final Four by Mayweather, a reality series and heavy promotion on the CBS Sports Radio network. Five of Mayweather’s previous six fights on HBO had topped one million PPV buys.
Showtime and others outside the network insist the Guerrero fight will narrowly beat the one million mark once everything is counted, while other boxing insiders told Forbes that the fight is likely to top out at 875,000 buys. Either figure has to be a disappointment.
Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza told Forbes before the Guerrero fight that it was trending better than Mayweather’s Victor Ortiz fight in 2011 (1.25 million buys) and had an outside shot at topping the Miguel Cotto bout in 2012 (1.5 million).