MaxBoxing.com's Steve Kim writes that this weekend's Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather championship fight in Vegas promises to be a box-office bonanza. But he cautions that, with boxing fans dwindling fast, the fight better be a good one. Writes Kim:
"De La Hoya is very close to becoming the all-time pay-per-view king. If this event does just a little bit more than the same number of [pay-per-view] buys as his fight against Ricardo Mayorga did (approximately 935,000), the Golden Boy will become the all-time highest grossing attraction in pay-per-view history. His 17 pay-per-view events have garnered nearly 10.5 million buys, generating $492 million. Evander Holyfield's 14 pay-per-views have had around 12.6 million subscribers and totaled $550 million. And Mike Tyson's 12 outings on pay-per-view have had around 12.4 million buys and $550 million. Oscar may have already exceeded these two heavyweights had his 1996 encounter against Julio Cesar Chavez been on pay-per-view and not on closed-circuit.
"The Lewis-Tyson event in 2002 is the all-time leading grosser in pay-per-view history, but De La Hoya's bout versus Felix Trinidad in September of 1999 is the all-time non-heavyweight pay-per-view telecast with 1.4 million buys that generated $71.4 million. It's almost a foregone conclusion that this Saturday’s bout will surpass that figure.
"So there's no doubt, this is not just a big fight, but one of the biggest events in all of sports for 2007. It will get the type of coverage from the general media that it rarely gets anymore. Both De La Hoya and Mayweather will be making career-high paydays when all the numbers are added up.
"But with that comes some extra added responsibility. Boxing - and these two boxers - must put their best foot (or is it fists?) forward when the whole world is watching. For all the hype that De La Hoya-Trinidad received, and the money it made, with its two leading men on the marquee, boxing got its version of "Ishtar." Here, we can't have "Waterworld" or "Alexander."
"No, it's not that this event will lose money - in fact, it will probably make an unprecedented amount of it - but being perhaps one of the last true mega-events boxing might have, it's critical that both participants put on a good show. We already know that this will be a financial winner for everyone involved. But the game of boxing needs a critical smash, one that will bring at least some of the general public back to the big top that is boxing; something that will be the impetus for newspaper editors and television heads to give boxing another look.
"De La Hoya's has provided boxing fans with some memorable moments like his grudge match victory over arch-nemesis Fernando Vargas in 2002, and his thrilling close-out of Ike Quartey in 1999. But some have still never forgiven him – or will - for his Dean Smith-like four corners offense against Trinidad or what some consider a questionable stoppage at the hands of a Bernard Hopkins left hook a few years back.
"Mayweather, for all his supposed brilliance, is more likely to make patrons leave early (just ask Charles Barkley and Tiger Woods) than have them on their feet applauding. In his gradual moves up in weight, he has become an increasingly cautious and safe prizefighter."