There are rumors going around that the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero on Saturday at the MGM Grand actually lost Showtime money.
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com tweeted on Sunday:
Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn
If Mayweather PPV indeed does under 1M that will mean heavy $$ losses for Showtime. My sources tell me break even was about 1.1 or 1.2M buys2013-5-7 16:47:45
Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn
If Showtime loses millions on the PPV, since it gauranteed so much to Floyd, I'd imagine the $ will come out of its network #boxing budget.2013-5-7 16:48:54
If this is the case, I actually wouldn't be surprised. First of all, Guerrero was a heavy underdog as it was against Mayweather, even after Mayweather's year-long layoff. Secondly, Mayweather didn't hype up the fight as much as he usually does.
When I was young you saw the wild Floyd Mayweather. I’m a lot older now. My kids are teenagers. I can’t be conducting myself in a disorderly fashion. It’s OK to trash talk sometimes to give the people excitement. But there’s a time and a place for everything.
Little did Mayweather know, the "time and place" was right then.
There will always be those fans who buy the pay-per-view because they simply love the sport of boxing, but Mayweather isn't the richest athlete in the world simply due to those fans. In order to make a lot of money—for himself and the network—he has to intrigue the general public, too.
Mayweather's been a master trash-talker throughout his boxing career, executing the bad-boy persona to perfection. Even if you don't like trash-talking before a fight, you have to admire how he can cleverly boost pay-per-view numbers with his antics.
But he made few media appearances before the Guerrero fight, as noted by Rafael, which was frankly astonishing. Perhaps he didn't think he had to create much publicity. Given the rumors, perhaps he should have.
Compounding the problem is the fact that there aren't many attractive options for Mayweather right now, in terms of who he fights next (as I wrote about on Wednesday). The politics of boxing, among other things, have likely crossed some top boxers off his list.
This makes it even tougher for Mayweather to create revenue because there isn't a whole lot of legitimate competition for him at this point. It also makes it more important than ever that he adds his signature electricity to each of the remaining five fights on his Showtime contract.
You wouldn't think that the top boxer on the planet would have to do anything more than show up to a fight for a network to cash in, but the state of boxing right now has changed things.
Mayweather may be more mature at 36 years old, but Showtime can't afford for him to abandon his bad-boy persona, and the trash-talking that comes along with it.