The post-Mayweather era may not be as bleak as anticipated, after all. Not after a middleweight title bout between Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez reportedly sold 900,000 pay-per-view buys, according to Yahoo Sports.
The bout, which was billed as the “Super Bowl” for hispanic boxing fans by Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya, reportedly surpassed initial expectations. According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, sources close to HBO expected the bout to be somewhere between 625,000 and 650,000 buys.
“At 900,000 buys and $58 million in PPV revenue, Cotto-Canelo performed superbly,” HBO Sports Senior Vice President Mark Taffet said in a statement (h/t Yahoo Sports).
“It puts an exclamation point on the biggest year in pay-per-view history. I couldn’t be more thrilled for boxing, Golden Boy, Roc Nation and the fans.”
The numbers are obviously still a far cry from the record-setting blockbuster event that took place in May between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao — a match that sold 4.6 million PPV buys. But this could be seen as a big step for the fight business, as it’s the first fight since Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson in 2002 to sell at least 900,000 buys while excluding perennial PPV draws in Mayweather, Pacquiao or De La Hoya.
Both Cotto and Canelo have headlined events selling over a million buys in the past, though both outings featured Mayweather as the primary draw. Mayweather-Cotto sold 1.5 million buys in 2012, while Mayweather-Canelo sold 2.2 million a year later — good for third all-time behind Mayweather-De La Hoya and Mayweather-Pacquiao.