This has been a recurring theme when it comes to Manny Pacquiao. It’s been the reason the people who actually make money off boxing have been so anxious to Floyd Mayweather Jr. face Pacquiao – and not the hand-picked wastes-of-space Bob Arum has been throwing into the ring against his golden boy.
As it stands now, Pacquiao will likely get $20 million for pounding proven cheater Antonio Margarito on November 13. It’s possible the figure could grow to $25 million by the time the last few dollars are counted.
Based on the pay-per-view sales released by HBO Sports this past week, there were 1.15 million buys and $64 million in domestic revenue brought in from the Pacquaio vs. Margarito fight. According to Time Warner Cable, this fight generated 14,474 pay-per-view buys.
For comparison’s sake, Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya had 13,341 buys and De La Hoya-Mayweather recorded an astounding 22,301 purchases.
Despite an announced attendance of 41,734 for the Pacquiao Margarito fight, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation says the official attendance was actually 40,154. Of course, that figure also includes 9,717 comps, which means the actual attendance was only 30,437.
Simply put: Despite Manny Pacquaio's overall popularity and pound-for-pound-best-fighter-on-earth status, the much-hyped fight didn’t meet promoters’ expectations.
Some predicted the bout would draw 50,000+ fans, while others said this fight’s spectator total could eclipse the 63,315 that showed up for Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks in 1978.
Attendance for the fight also fell below the 50,994 mark set in the Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey bout. (You could argue that number was artificially inflated because of the bout's site. A brand new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas acted as a one-time attraction for curious fans.)
It’s clear Pacquiao is supposed to be the face of boxing, particularly when most boxing aficionados continue to vilify Mayweather. However, for all his troubles, Mayweather has proven to be a true superstar attraction–in every sense.
Based on the numbers, it seems promoters are having a little trouble selling the Filipino superstar.