Pacquiao/Mayweather Superfight Depends on Pacquiao/Cotto PPV Numbers

17/10/2009 09:48

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told Boxing Scene today that he thinks Mayweather should get the lion's share of the money in any eventual fight with the winner of the Manny Pacquiao/Miguel Cotto fight on November 14.

But he did add a caveat to that statement. If Pacquiao vs. Cotto does a million PPV buys or above, then he believes there is reason to consider a 50-50 split.

You know what? He's probably right about that, and the upshot is pure financial mathematics - Pac/Cotto does a million or higher, and we fight fans have a shot at seeing the Pacquiao/Mayweather superfight get made. Pac/Cotto falls short of a million buys, and it's never going to happen.

My sense is that Pac/Cotto not only needs to make a million buys, it needs to exceed that number. But not by too much. I would say, oh, maybe 1.2 million gets the job done nicely.

For the sake of discussion, I'm going to leave aside the possibility that Cotto beats Pacquiao and that we're talking about a Mayweather/Cotto fight on November 14th. The fact of the matter is that no matter what Pac/Cotto does at the box office, if Cotto wins and is in line to fight Mayweather next, it's a much easier negotiation. Cotto is going to get the short money, end of story.

Mayweather/Pacquaio is another kettle of moneyfish altogether. As it stands right now, both the Pacquiao and Mayweather camps say that they will not settle for a 50-50 split. Mayweather rests his argument on the fact that he did 2.4 mill against Oscar as opposed to the 1.25 mill that Pac did against Oscar, and he did 900K against Ricky Hatton versus the 850K that Pac did against Hatton. Add to that his recent take of a milly in the Marquez fight, and Money's argument for mo' money definitely seems strong.

Pacquaio's team argues that Pac is the ascendant star, a far bigger international celebrity, and the recognized pound-for-pound champion, a mantle that Floyd gave up with his retirement. Myself, I think right now that Floyd's argument is the better one for the bigger money, but I don't think it matters, because I don't see any way in which Pac's team gives an inch on this one, all arguments be damned.

The only chance that I think we have of a successful negotiation for Mayweather/Pacquiao is if both sides agree to equal money, and the only chance for that happening is if Pac/Cotto matches Mayweather/Marquez at the box office. These two bouts are an excellent barometer for where the two fighters at right now as PPV draws, leaving aside the x factors of Oscar, Hatton and the varying economic conditions in which their various fights have taken place. Marquez and Cotto are similar opponents, one the hero of Mexico, one the hero of Puerto Rico. I would say that Cotto is a little bigger star in the States but I think Marquez probably offsets that numbers-wise in that there are more Mexican fight fans buying PPV's in the U.S. than there are Puerto Ricans. You could say that there's still a slight advantage to the Pac/Cotto fight as a television draw because the May/Marquez fight was deemed such a mismatch by the boxing press. But I'm really starting to face the facts as far as the influence of the boxing press goes on PPV numbers - nobody pays any attention to us but diehard boxing fans, and they buy every frickin big PPV anyway.

I think if Pac/Cotto does a million buys, or even better, around 1.2 mill, it gives us at least a chance that Floyd will accept a 50-50 spilt. It's not a guarantee by any means, but at that point it would seem obvious to all involved that the two principals are neck and neck as PPV draws right now.

I have a sense that Pacquiao's side will be willing eventually to take 50-50. It's Floyd I'm worried about. Everything is a pissing contest with him, and to accept even money with Pac would be to accept him as an equal, period, something I don't think Floyd wants to do with anyone right now. He spent his whole career in the shadow of De La Hoya, and harbors great bitterness about that fact dating back to his tenure at Top Rank when Oscar was the Top Dog. Now Floyd feels like <i>he's</i> Oscar and can run the game accordingly. At that propitious moment, to acknowledge another fighter as being of his same stature just does not seem like something he's going to do.

Then again, by all accounts he's broke, and Mayweather/Pacquaio has the potential to match, if not exceed, De La Hoya/Mayweather money. Hell, people have speculated that a Pac/Money fight could do three million buys. So if Pac proves that he can really bring it by equalling or surpassing the Floyd/Marquez numbers, the pressure for the fight is going to be so great (assuming Pac beats Cotto, of course) and the argument is going to be so strong for a 50-50 split that I wonder if Floyd won't accept it. He could accept it and still save face by saying somethingl ike this: "All right, clearly I have to beat down this pretender just to prove it to you all again what time it is, so I'm gonna do it, but after I whup this fool… that's it. After that, you wanna fight me, you get 20 percent max, and that's if you're HUGE and I happen to like you."

Pac/Cotto does 800K, though, and the jig is up. Floyd will never budge on 60-40 at that point, and while I do think Pac's team would give in to 50-50 evenutally, I can't ever see Arum giving Floyd 60-40 to fight Pacquiao even if Floyd was holding all the cards.

Of course, there is another possibility to consider. My observation has been that the buzz for Pac/Cotto is already immense. Maybe my viewpoint is skewed, because I mostly converse with the hardcore fans, and there's no question that those folks are much more amped for Pac/Cotto than they were for May/Marquez.

That said, what if Pac/Cotto does 1.5 mill? Or 1.7? Then… then we got problems, people.