- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Manny Pacquiao's historic 12th-round TKO of Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas on Saturday night did big business.
The Top Rank-promoted fight generated 1.25 million buys and $70 million in domestic pay-per-view revenue, HBO announced Friday. If historical trends hold, the numbers will increase when all of the buys are officially audited.
The 1.25 million buys, the most for a boxing pay-per-view this year, came from 650,000 from cable homes and 600,000 from satellite services.
Cotto, who is from Puerto Rico, helped drive the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to an all-time record for buys on the island with 110,000 units sold.
Combined with the approximately 1.05 million buys generated by Floyd Mayweather's dominant decision victory against Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19, it was the first time since 1999 -- when Felix Trinidad claimed a decision against Oscar De La Hoya in a welterweight unification fight and Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield fought to a highly controversial draw for the undisputed heavyweight championship -- that two pay-per-view fights have generated at least 1 million buys in the same calendar year.
It was also the first time that back-to-back pay-per-views have reached seven figures.
With the victory, Pacquiao, who won his first world title in the 112-pound flyweight division, became the first fighter in history to win titles in seven divisions when he claimed Cotto's 147-pound welterweight title. HBO will replay the bout Saturday night (10 ET/PT).
The victories by Pacquiao and Mayweather set the stage for what likely will be the biggest money fight ever.
"They have to deliver," HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg told The Associated Press. "The American public wants that fight."
Their representatives are planning to open negotiations in the coming days for a showdown that would likely take place in the spring.
"The two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world in the same weight class in the prime of their careers," Greenburg said. "It just doesn't get any better than that."
Promoter Bob Arum agreed.
"The way I look at it now, boxing is really on a roll," Arum said. "We would be idiots now to slow the momentum and the only way we can keep the momentum is to make this fight."
Arum, who represents Pacquiao, was expected to begin talks as early as next week with Richard Schaefer, who heads Golden Boy Promotions and will represent Mayweather in the negotiations.
Though each fighter believes he should get a bigger percentage of the purse, the total revenues will be so high that a 50-50 split may not be all that difficult to achieve.
Arum said Pacquiao will end up making some $22 million for his 12th-round stoppage of Cotto, while Cotto will end up with around $12 million. That is far higher than either fighter was guaranteed because, as is the case with most big fights, they worked for a percentage of the total sales.
It was the third consecutive blockbuster pay-per-view fight for Pacquiao, who also drew 1.25 million buys for his eighth-round destruction of De La Hoya in December 2008 and approximately 830,000 buys for his second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton to win the junior welterweight championship in May.
Pacquiao-Cotto also generated a live gate of $8,847,550 from an official crowd of 15,930, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That makes it the 14th-biggest gate in Nevada history.
The potential of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight is so big that Arum said casino magnate Steve Wynn had already spoken to him about constructing a 30,000-seat outdoor arena on what is now a vacant lot across from his two resorts to host the bout, with other casinos joining in as partners.
Outdoor arenas were a staple of the big fights in Las Vegas in the 1980s, beginning with the Muhammad Ali-Larry Holmes fight at Caesars Palace.
"A lot of people are interested," Arum said. "The problem with having it in the East, though, is that the taxes are so big that the fighters would have to give up millions in extra taxes."
Greenburg credited the recent strong sales to a new willingness by promoters to match their best fighters, and to the new -- and younger -- fans drawn to the sport by the success of the network's "24/7" reality shows in the weeks before the fights.
There would be no lack of material for a Pacquiao-Mayweather show, which would match a Filipino hero with a colorful cast surrounding him against a fighter with a dysfunctional family who has played the role of villain in his biggest fights.
"There's just so much drama and subplots for this," Greenburg said.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Manny Pacquiao is a box office hit, selling 1.25 million pay-per-views for his fight with Miguel Cotto in a performance that could set up the richest fight ever against Floyd Mayweather Jr.