HBO numbers prove superfight was super big at box office

Updated: October 25, 2007, 7:03 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

A few days after pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. took a split decision from Oscar De La Hoya on May 5, the staggering numbers rolled into HBO PPV and De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions like a tidal wave.

The junior middleweight title fight, with 2.15 million pay-per-view buys, $120 million in PPV revenue, a live gate just shy of $19 million at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and total gross receipts of about $150 million, had shattered every boxing box office record.

Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty ImagesFloyd Mayweather, left, delivered last May -- both in the ring and at the box office.
They'll need to break out the bubbly all over again now that HBO has revised the pay-per-view figures with a final tally that is even more mind-blowing than the original projections.

HBO said with the buys now fully accounted for, the fight actually generated 2.4 million buys and $134.4 million in domestic PPV revenue, bringing the total revenue for the event to approximately $165 million.

It is common for early pay-per-view tallies to rise once all the buys are counted, but the magnitude of the boost came as a surprise.

"When you're talking about a record, with numbers that are so big, you want to get it exactly right, and it takes a long time to count to 2.4 million," HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet told ESPN.com on Thursday.

The amended figures also vaulted De La Hoya into first place as the all-time pay-per-view sales king. His 18 PPV fights have sold 12.8 million units, sending him past Evander Holyfield's record of 12.6 million, which does not include the undisclosed total for his Oct. 13 PPV fight against Sultan Ibragimov. But that fight is not expected to reach even 100,000 buys.

The increase from $120 million to $134.4 million in PPV revenue means De La Hoya's events have generated $626.4 million, extending his revenue lead over second-place Mike Tyson ($545 million).

To put the revised De La Hoya-Mayweather numbers in perspective, De La Hoya's 1999 welterweight unification match against Felix Trinidad set the old record for a non-heavyweight fight with 1.4 million units sold. De La Hoya-Mayweather eclipsed that by 1 million, or the total of De La Hoya's 2004 HBO PPV fight with Bernard Hopkins.

The old all-time record for PPV buys was 1.99 million set by the 1997 heavyweight championship rematch between Holyfield and Tyson (the ear-bite fight). Now, De La Hoya-Mayweather is comfortably in first place all-time by 401,000 buys.

The De La Hoya-Mayweather increase to 2.4 million buys means that the total from the original tally rose by 250,000, or about 20,000 more than the total for the March fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera.

Mayweather has a much-anticipated fight with Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand on Dec. 8 on HBO PPV. If it reaches the 1 million mark, which is possible with HBO committed to another batch of episodes of the hit reality series "24/7" that highlighted the buildup to De La Hoya-Mayweather, Mayweather would become the first non-heavyweight fighter to have back-to-back pay-per-view events reach seven figures. Even De La Hoya has never done that.

But De La Hoya is expected back in the ring May 3, 2008, for a fight that could easily reach seven figures regardless of his opponent.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.