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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What kind of numbers will Pacquiao vs. Cotto achieve?

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Pittsburgh Fight Sports Examiner | Scott Heritage

Undoubtedly Pacquiao vs. Cotto is the biggest fight of the year in many ways. For one thing it looks a lot better on paper than the likes of Klitschko smashing another game but outclassed opponent. Or for that matter Mayweather bullying an undersized Marquez or David Haye giving the giant Nicolai Valuev a boxing lesson.

Whether the quality of the fight will actually translate into interest isn't clear, although Pacquiao in particular has been getting a lot of media attention over the past few weeks. The only thing Pacquiao lacks in being an even bigger star is the mouth to match his fists, which is why someone like Mayweather can garner more attention despite taking easier fights.

Can Pacquiao-Cotto top Mayweather?

Perhaps one of the biggest questions about Saturday will be whether it can top the pay per view buys of Mayweather's one sided fight against Marquez earlier this year.

If it can, then the winner on Saturday might be able to tempt Floyd into fighting them, given the huge pay per views that would follow. The difficulty would inevitably come when both parties would demand more than 50%, which is something that the side who did the more buys in their last fight would have the biggest claim to.

Most experts are predicting that Pacquiao and Cotto will do less buys than Mayweather, simply because of the fact that neither of them is American. Being an American gives a top fighter a much larger built in fan base than being either Filipino or Puerto Rican, purely from population sizes, and Mayweather takes full advantage of this with his constant crowing and larger than life persona. Even if people tune in hoping to see Floyd lose, they still watch. Cotto and Pacquiao quietly praising each other in their pre-fight press conference is nice and all, but not what fans have come to expect from a top draw boxing event.

It might be sad to say, but the pre-fight fighting that often goes along with heavyweight bouts, as well as smack talking in the press is often what sells fights to the casual fans. The learned and hardcore fans of the sport will be there whatever the fight, but a lot of people will only watch if there is some kind of narrative or bad blood going on.

Competition from the UFC

Boxing's increasingly popular rival MMA is also holding a major card this weekend, and what' more is that this one is free. Fans of boxing and MMA are often one and the same, regardless of what people like Bob Arum or Dana While might think about it. As has become almost customary for a UK card, UFC 105 will be airing on Spike TV for free, which will undoubtedly hurt the figures for Pacquiao vs Cotto in terms of pay per view buys. Anything less than a million will probably be declared a victory for the UFC by Dana White, but then again selling a free broadcast is a lot easier than selling a pay per view.

Make no mistake, the UFC having a free card on the same night will make a big difference to the buys that Pacquiao-Cotto does, not only in terms of actual buys, but viewers as well. A lot of people like to watch events at vars, and of course more bars will show a free event than a more expensive one.

Numbers Prediction: 1.3 Million pay per view buys

Source: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-20066-Pittsburgh-Fight-Sports-Examiner~y2009m11d11-What-kind-of-numbers-will-Pacquiao-vs-Cotto-achieve

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