By Keith Idec
Richard Schaefer won’t go as far as to say the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz fight will eclipse the pay-per-view record of nearly 2.5 million buys established by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya four years ago.
Golden Boy Promotions’ chief executive officer is confident, however, that Mayweather-Ortiz will be the most successful pay-per-view fight of 2011. That distinction currently belongs to Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley, a one-sided welterweight title fight May 7 in Las Vegas that drew roughly 1.3 million buys.
Pacquiao-Mosley was broadcast by another network (Showtime) and promoted by a rival company (Top Rank), but Schaefer acknowledged that Showtime’s use of parent company CBS’ expansive resources to promote that fight was good for the boxing business. Losing the Pacquiao-Mosley fight to Showtime forced executives at HBO to make better use of parent company Time Warner’s numerous platforms on television, in print and on the Internet.
“I have no doubt that [Mayweather-Ortiz] will be the most heavily promoted fight in the history of boxing,” said Schaefer, whose company is the primary promoter of the Mayweather-Ortiz welterweight title fight Sept. 17 in Las Vegas. “No question about it. … I looked back at the marketing plan they had for De La Hoya and Mayweather, and I swear to you, it pales to that. So I’m really excited about it.
“I think the sky’s the limit. And I think the beneficiary is the sport of boxing and those two athletes. Because you have the most skilled [boxer] of our generation and you have a young man which I think is a very tough opponent, who has an amazing story, an amazing personality. All that is why I’m convinced that this will be the biggest pay-per-view event of this year.”
Top Rank executives are in the process of determining whether HBO or Showtime will be the pay-per-view provider of the third bout between Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) and Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. Top Rank founder Bob Arum might have a tough time saying no to another HBO proposal now that decision-makers for that network are making more complete pitches.
“There’s a lot of assets from the Time Inc. side, both in print and online, which are going to be very much involved [in promoting Mayweather-Ortiz],” Schaefer said. “Then you have the HBO assets, and they are going to be involved like they’ve never been. So it is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive overall package ever structured. And I have to say, HBO was very eager to put these different assets in play. After seeing what Showtime has done with CBS, it’s like, ‘Hey, let us show you what we can do.’ ”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.