The biggest draw in boxing is set to step back in the ring on Sept. 13 when Floyd Mayweather takes on Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight is a rematch of the May 3 bout that saw Mayweather beat Maidana in a majority decision.
In the last few years, Mayweather has cemented himself as the highest-paid athlete in sports, topping the 2014 Forbes list by earning $105 million in a 12-month span. He’s been able to become the world’s richest athlete because his fights generate so much money. A year ago, his bout with Canelo Alvarez set a record by grossing $150 million in pay-per-view revenue.
Despite Mayweather’s drawing power, there is some question as to how well the fight will do in terms of viewership, compared to the boxer’s previous fights. While Mayweather’s Sept. 2013 bout with Alvarez generated 2.2 million PPV buys, his first fight with Maidana drew a somewhat disappointing 900,000 buys.
Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, thinks the upcoming fight will disappoint even more.
“I’m not picking Maidana because he already knows how to beat him. It makes no sense. It’s not going to sell no tickets,” Roach said, via boxingnews24.com.
Roach might be pessimistic about the potential viewership of Mayweather vs. Maidana II, but there’s a good chance the rematch will do better than the first fight. The quality of the initial bout between the two boxers exceeded most expectations.
Mayweather’s fights can often be predictable, with the champ dodging punches for 12 rounds and getting a unanimous decision. The fight with Maidana, though, was one of the most exciting of Mayweather’s career, as the two traded punches throughout the match. It was just the third 12-round victory for Mayweather in which he didn't win by unanimous decision.
It’s understandable why Mayweather vs. Maidana I sold so many less PPVs than Mayweather vs. Alvarez. Alvarez was given a legitimate chance by experts to challenge Mayweather, and he was listed as just a +220 underdog. No one thought Maidana could beat Mayweather, and a little more than a week before the fight, Mayweather was listed as a +1100 favorite.
With eight days to go before the rematch, expectations are much different for this fight. Maidana is a +500 underdog at Bovada.lv, and the betting odds could improve in his favor by the time the bout starts. Nearly a million PPV buys were generated when it was thought that Maidana didn’t have a chance. Now that the 31-year-old has proven that he can hang with the best in the world, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the buys exceed seven figures.
It’s hard to believe Roach’s claim that the fight won’t sell tickets. The first bout between the two sold out, and the same is expected the second time around. Tickets are still available, but that isn’t likely to be the case in a week. At StubHub, the cheapest seat can be ourchased for $450.
Maidana may not have major drawing power, but the attraction of watching him fight cannot be overlooked. Coming from Argentina, he has a large Latino fan base that will support him against Mayweather.
Mayweather has proven that no matter whom he fights, his PPV numbers will top those of any other fight. While the 900,000 buys his first fight did with Maidana may have been disappointing to some, it was still over 100,000 buys more than what Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley generated three weeks earlier.
Maidana is just the second boxer to get a rematch with Mayweather. The 37-year-old is looking to improve his career record to 47-0.