By Keith Idec
Oscar De La Hoya isn’t concerned about fatigued fight fans passing on paying $60 to watch Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara go at it July 12 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Alvarez versus Lara is one of the best matchups of the year thus far, but their 12-round junior middleweight bout will headline the fifth boxing pay-per-view event in an 18-week span, which equates to one every 3.6 weeks. Alvarez’s domination of fellow Mexican Alfredo Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs) on March 8 in Las Vegas was the main event of the first of those five pay-per-view shows. It drew nearly 400,000 buys, which exceeded expectations even of those at De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime Sports, the distributor of the Alvarez-Angulo and Alvarez-Lara cards.
The financial success of Alvarez-Angulo is among the reasons De La Hoya has faith that Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) and the Cuban-born Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) will attract plenty of viewership even in the middle of the summer.
When asked on Wednesday if he was concerned about buys, De La Hoya said, “No, not at all because first of all, when you have Canelo involved in a pay-per-view fight, as the numbers show – his very first pay-per-view that he was headlining generated close to 400,000 [buys]. So having this fight with Erislandy Lara and having a stacked card, people know what they’re going to watch. People are going to tune in to watch a spectacular event. So we’re not worried one bit, whatsoever.”
Alvarez was part of the greatest-grossing pay-per-view event in boxing history Sept. 14, when he was thoroughly out-boxed by undefeated superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Their heavily hyped junior middleweight title fight drew approximately 2.2 million buys, about 280,000 short of the boxing record established by Mayweather and De La Hoya in May 2007. It also generated an unprecedented $150,000,000 in pay-per-view revenue, roughly $14,000,000 more than Mayweather-De La Hoya ($136,000,000).
That success aside, the boxing’s most recent pay-per-view event, which starred popular Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) and Argentina’s Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) in the main event, failed to meet organizers’ expectations. That June 7 show from Madison Square Garden produced somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000 buys via HBO Pay-Per-View, well below co-promoter Bob Arum’s anticipated total of about 500,000.
Official figures haven’t been released by Showtime Sports, but Mayweather’s last pay-per-view fight is believed to have underperformed as well. Industry insiders have indicated the telecast led by the Mayweather-Marcos Maidana fight elicited somewhere between 800,000 and 850,000 buys May 3 from MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The Alvarez-Lara show will cost $59.95 in HD, less than the cards that featured Cotto and Martinez ($64.95 in HD) and Mayweather and Maidana ($74.95 in HD).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.