Feb 24 2014, 9:03pm CST | by Forbes
On his 37th birthday and after months of speculation, Floyd Mayweather announced that he will put his undefeated 45-0 record on the line in a fight against Marcos Maidana on May 3. It will be the third fight in the blockbuster six-fight deal he signed with Showtime in 2013 that is worth more than $200 million. Maidana, 30, put his name into the conversation for a Mayweather payday after his unanimous decision against Adrien Broner in December. Maidana and Amir Khan were the expected finalists to fight Mayweather, as Money Mayweather announced the news Monday night via Twitter to his 4.7 million followers.
The fight will be broadcast on Showtime PPV, but the venue is still to be determined. Mayweather has fought at the MGM Grand in his home of Las Vegas each of his past eight trips into the ring, but speculation is swirling that Mayweather will consider an alternative location like New York for the May bout to help drum up interest in the fight. New York represents a challenge due to the tax consequences for the fighters, but Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza told Forbes in December that New York City was definitely an option for one of his remaining fights. “He wants each of these last fights to be huge memorable events,” said Espinoza. “One way to do that is switch up the venue.”
“Marcos Maidana’s last performance immediately brought him to my attention,” said Mayweather in the press release announcing the fight. “He is an extremely skilled fighter who brings knockout danger to the ring. I think this is a great fight for me and he deserves the opportunity to see if he can do what 45 others have tried to do before him – beat me.”
Mayweather is in a tough position. His destruction of top challenger Canelo Alvarez in a fight billed as “The One,” makes the promotion of any upcoming fights difficult. Fans will hesitate to plunk down $75 for the hi-def pay-per-view telecast if no one gives the opponent a chance. It is also a busy boxing season on PPV with one telecast a month between March and June featuring the sports biggest stars including Mayweather, Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto. There were only four boxing PPV telecasts in all of 2013. Fans are going to have choices which fight cards they want to buy.
The Argentine Maidana is little known outside of big fight fans and many are skeptical if he (or anyone) can hang in the ring with Mayweather. It is a problem that plagued the promotion for Mayweather’s bout with Roberto Guerrero, which was the first under his Showtime pact, and drew one million PPV buys, according to the network. Maidana won the WBA welterweight title when he beat the heavily favored Broner, but Maidana has three losses on his record against 35 wins since turning pro in 2004. Mayweather started the May fight promotion early with a poll asking his fans to choose his next opponent. The poll drew more than 35,000 votes with Khan receiving 57% of the tally and Maidana 43%, but Mayweather went out on his own and chose Maidana.
Mayweather has generated huge PPV audiences for his bouts regardless of the opponent. During his career, Mayweather has generated 12.8 million PPV buys and over $800 million in revenue. His past eight fights averaged nearly 1.5 million PPV buys and only his fight against Ricky Hatton drew less than one million buys. The One was the highest-grossing bout in the history of boxing with $150 million in PPV sales and roughly $200 million from all revenue streams. The fight earned Mayweather $80 million and pushed his career earnings to an estimated $360 million.
Mayweather received a guarantee of $32 million for his Guerrero fight and should see something similar for Maidana (Mayweather’s record $41.5 million guarantee for The One was based on the huge expectations). Ultimately, Mayweather’s upside will be based on the PPV audience. He saw almost no upside for Guerrero, but added $40 million to his payday against Alvarez with the massive PPV. As he has done since his split from Bob Arum and Top Rank in 2006, Mayweather will beat on himself by promoting the fight through Mayweather Promotions and cutting out the middleman. Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Maidana, will co-promote the bout. Expect Money Mayweather to keep winning in and outside the ring.
Source: Forbes Business
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