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Cotto-Martinez fight brings in disappointing pay-per-view audience

Photo: Carlos M. Saavedra/SI

Miguel Cotto (left) dominated his matchup with Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden, but a limited pay-per-view audience actually watched.

NEW YORK -- Sergio Martinez’s middleweight title defense against Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden generated between 300,000 and 315,000 pay-per-view buys, according to multiple sources involved with the promotion. The number is a disappointment for a highly anticipated fight promoters hoped would surpass 500,000 buys. 

The Cotto-Martinez buy rate was negatively affected by one of the most compelling sports days of the year. Coverage of the Belmont Stakes, which featured a potential Triple Crown winner in California Chrome, cut into the coverage in major news outlets and websites. And Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the LA Kings and New York Rangers, two teams from the two largest media markets, went into double overtime, ending well after the pay-per-view was on the air. 

Neither Cotto nor Martinez were particularly engaged during the promotion, which also could have diminished the number of buys.

Cotto was guaranteed $7 million for the fight. Martinez' guarantee was $1.5 million, plus a piece of the pay-per-view upside. 

The 33-year-old Cotto is expected to return in December. Two possible opponents being floated are junior middleweight contender Saul Alvarez and former welterweight champion Timothy Bradley. 

Martinez, 39, who has one fight left on his deal with HBO, is contemplating retirement. Members of his team are expected to meet with him in July and present him options. If Martinez, who has been ravaged by injuries the last two years, doesn’t like those options, he could walk away. 

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