HOLLYWOOD — Early, unconfirmed numbers coming out of Dallas said Sunday that Manny Pacquiao’s big fight against Antonio Margarito drew a total of 1.4 million pay-per-view buys.
The Dallas Morning News came up with the big numbers that should make fight promoter Bob Arum smile until Christmas.
The gate attendance for the 12-round battle between Pacquiao and Margarito was at 41,734, much less than the 60,000 to 70,000 which promoters expected.
But if the PPV numbers were correct, then it would be more than enough to make Sunday’s fight a resounding success.
Pacquiao’s heaviest PPV numbers of 1.25 million buys were recorded during his 2008 fight with Oscar De La Hoya and 1.2 million for his 2009 showdown with Miguel Cotto.
Against Joshua Clottey last March, he had 700,000.
Again, if accurate, the 1.4 million PPV buys would sell for around $77 million.
“It was tracking really really high, really really high,” said Arum of the PPV buys, during the post-fight press conference.
“Maybe we can announce by the end of next week that its the best pacquiao fight ever,” he added.
Arum attributed the low gate attendance to the economic situation in the United States.
“As I said its silly for a promoter to be disappointed because all these people who came out bought tickets and I’m thankful for them for coming,” the TopRank chief said.
“And if the others didn’t it’s probably because of economic situation. They probably chose to watch it through pay-per-view.”
“Eight people in the house (can watch it for $54.95) much more comfortable than go to the stadium,” Arum added.
The all-time PPV record stands at 2.44 for the 2007 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya, and experts believe that number can or may only be surpassed if it’s a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao.
The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight almost took place but twice negotiations fell off for various reasons.
Mark Taffet, senior vice president of HBO, hailed Pacquiao as the new PPV darling during last Wednesday’s press conference.
“With 6.25 million buys and a total of $321 million,” said Taffet, adding that Pacquiao’s last four fights averaged one million buys.
“That takes him to the super elite status and in the annals of pay-per-view history,” said the HBO official.