Floyd Mayweather's fight with Marcos Maidana drew 900,000 pay per view buys. (Harry How/Getty Images)
The May 3 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana generated an estimated 900,000 pay per view buys, multiple industry sources told SI.com. The 900,000 buys represent a precipitous drop from the 2.2 million buys Mayweather generated in his fight with Saul Alvarez last September and is comparable to the number of buys Mayweather got in his May, 2013 fight against Robert Guerrero, which also failed to eclipse 1 million.
Promotion for the Mayweather-Maidana fight--in which Mayweather was guaranteed $32 million -- was lackluster. There was no press tour for the Maidana fight, whereas for the fight against Alvarez, Mayweather embarked on an 11-city, two country press tour that created significant mainstream interest. And while the Argentina-born Maidana fights a fan-friendly style, he is relatively unknown outside of the hardcore boxing community, and the language barrier made it difficult for him to connect with U.S. media.
While Mayweather continues to be the biggest pay per view draw in boxing -- his 900,000 buys exceeded the 775,000-800,000 buys that Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley generated in April and pushed Mayweather to 13.7 million total buys since 2006 -- the slide under 1 million buys in two of his last three fights highlights a need for Mayweather to fight more high profile opponents.
The diminishing returns of Mayweather and Pacquiao may also reflect the public's reaction to the increasing unlikelihood of a showdown between two of boxing’s biggest stars, who have campaigned in and around the same weight class since 2008. Pacquiao recently signed a two-year extension with Top Rank that will run until the end of 2016, when Pacquiao will be 38. Mayweather has consistently said he will not do business with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
Mayweather is scheduled to return to the ring in September. He has not yet named an opponent. – Chris Mannix