Fight generates $70M in TV revenue

Updated: December 10, 2008, 8:27 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

If Oscar De La Hoya decides to retire, he'll go out with one more blockbuster fight in a career filled with them.

De La Hoya was pummeled by Manny Pacquiao en route to a possible career-ending eighth-round TKO loss Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but the welterweight fight sold 1.25 million subscriptions and generated $70 million in domestic television revenue, according to HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet.

It's a whopping total in a tough economy and makes the fight the third biggest-selling nonheavyweight fight in history. It also ties it for ninth overall on the all-time list.

De La Hoya-Pacquiao's total consisted of 680,000 buys from cable systems and 570,000 from satellite providers, Taffet said.

The only two nonheavyweight bouts to exceed the De La Hoya-Pacquiao total were De La Hoya's 2007 record-setting fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., which set the all-time pay-per-view record with 2.4 million buys and $134 million in revenue, and his 1999 fight with Felix Trinidad, which generated 1.4 million buys and $71.4 million.

Like most pay-per-views, the totals for De La Hoya-Pacquiao likely will go up slightly when the full accounting is complete.

"When it's all counted up, it will end up at 1.35 or 1.4 million [subscriptions]," Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said.

The total extended De La Hoya's all-time pay-per-view records for buys (14.1 million) and revenue ($696.4 million) in his 19 HBO PPV events.

Taffet and promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank had high hopes for a seven-figure total but were unsure given the economic climate.

"It was our hope the fight would do a million buys and take its place among the mega fights in the annals of boxing history," Taffet said. "In this economy, our expectations were appropriately tempered. But 1.25 million buys shows tremendous support from boxing fans all across the country and reinforces the importance of continuing to present the biggest and best fights the sports has to offer. This fight had strong performances across all markets covering all demographics."

Said Arum: "I thought everybody did a very good job promoting it and we broke through the recession slump. It was an event that really brought boxing to the forefront of the sports pages. When that happens, boxing catches everybody's attention and does well. It's something to be proud of and it demonstrates there is big life in boxing if we can break through to the general public."

For Pacquiao, the total blew away his previous best pay-per-view performance, which was 405,000 for his March rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez in which Pacquiao won the junior lightweight world title.

HBO will replay De La Hoya-Pacquiao on Saturday (4:45 p.m. ET, with a 10 p.m. ET/PT prime-time encore). It will be paired with live afternoon coverage from Mannheim, Germany, of unified heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko defending against former champion Hasim Rahman.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.

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