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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mayweather-Mosley fight could set pay-per-view mark

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By Bob Velin, USA TODAY

Oscar De La Hoya might be the king of boxing pay-per-view, but Floyd Mayweather lives up to his nickname, "Money," by virtue of being the sport's all-time leader in average revenue generated per PPV fight.

In six PPV fights, Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) has generated 5.5 million buys and $292 million in revenue, which averages out to about $48.6 million a fight, nearly $12 million more a fight than De La Hoya averaged in 19 PPV fights.

"It feels good to be the pay-per-view king as I have always believed in myself, and obviously a lot of other people do, too," Mayweather said Monday. "They keep coming back for more, and I am glad to give them what they want. I always try to entertain the fans, whether it's in the ring or with the things I say and do."

Mayweather's welterweight mega-fight Saturday against "Sugar" Shane Mosley (46-5-0, 39 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) is expected to threaten the pay-per-view record of 2.4 million buys set in Mayweather's fight with De La Hoya in December 2007.

MAYWEATHER-MOSLEY: Being opposites is big part of draw

Mark Taffet, HBO's senior vice president for pay-per-view, said Monday that Mayweather's popularity is twofold.

"Floyd has definitely crossed over from boxing to sports and now to entertainment," Taffet says. "He casts a wide net right now, well into the entertainment arena in attracting fans of all ages and ethnicities.

"In addition, Floyd's appeal as an entertainer comes at the same time that we are seeing an unprecedented explosion of digital and social media. It's the confluence of those two factors … taking Floyd to new heights."

Mayweather's two highest PPV fights were against Hispanic fighters: De La Hoya and last year vs. Juan Manuel Marquez, which had 1,060,000 buys.

Saturday's fight features two African-American fighters. Such a matchup had its greatest success in the heavyweight era of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Taffet says Mayweather is leading a resurgence in the American boxing market.

"One of the main reasons that Mayweather-De La Hoya did a million buys more than De La Hoya's second-biggest fight ever was because of the buys that came out of the large urban centers of America," Taffet said. "Mayweather-Mosley is a classic showdown between two American superstars who collectively have appeared nearly 50 times on HBO during the past 15 years. American fans know these two men well. And they've been anticipating this matchup."

Mayweather's manager, Leonard Ellerbe, said Monday that this fight is important because it's a fight between two Americans.

"You haven't seen a fight of this magnitude (between two American fighters) in a number of years," Ellerbe said. "It's a fight the fans have wanted to see for quite some time.

"To Floyd's credit, he has been groomed from Day 1 to be a superstar. What separates him from any other fighter out there is that he does it his way. He's willing to jump out there and take the risks that no other fighter has done in a number of years. If he talks about something, he goes out and does it."

HBO's hit reality series, 24/7: Mayweather-Mosley, has reached a demographic that has been hard to reach for boxing.

"Specifically, younger males across all ethnic lines," Taffet said. "24/7 is the most successful show in the last 10 years of not only reaching new fans but connecting them intimately to the athletes."

Ellerbe says the image you see of "Money" Mayweather on 24/7 is a character.

"That doesn't depict who Floyd Mayweather is," Ellerbe said. "Floyd is just promoting his fights. He's just doing his job."

Ellerbe thinks the PPV record will fall Saturday. Will the fight live up to the hype?

"That's one thing you don't have to worry about," Ellerbe said. "Shane Mosley is going to come to fight. And we know Floyd is going to come to fight."

Ruiz hangs up gloves:

Former heavyweight champion John Ruiz is retiring.

The 38-year-old boxer said in a statement Monday that he's leaving after an 18-year career. He was the WBA champ two times and finished with a record of 44-9-1, including 30 knockouts.

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