Former pound-for-pound kings Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson now hold ten positions on the all-time Pay Per View Top 15 list.
Mayweather and Tyson are without a doubt the two biggest money earners the sport has ever produced.
Following Tyson’s new entry in an exhibition with Roy Jones Jr. last November, ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ joins Mayweather on five apiece.
Trimming the list to ten, Mayweather would hold a slender lead by four to three. All due to a tenth place sharing three ways on 1.6m buys.
UFC has made great strides in recent years and currently has five PPV’s on the table. It’s a significant improvement from five years ago.
Back in 2016, two of UFC cracked the all-time top ten for revenue generated from household sales. Something boxing had only managed to do once in the previous three years.
Mayweather vs. McGregor in 2017 and Tyson vs. Jones last year are the only other times since boxing has broken the top ten.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, the record-holder, was a long-awaited contest that blew all records out of the water. But the sport has only hit more than 1.5 million buys on four occasions in the last fifteen years.
UFC did with both their significant efforts in 2016 but hasn’t been able to capitalize.
Conor McGregor versus Nate Diaz I and II scored 1.6 million buys when airing in March and August of 2016, respectively, topped only by Mayweather versus Canelo Alvarez (2.2m) in 2013 and Mayweather v Oscar De La Hoya (2.4m) in 2007 (MayPac apart).
You’d then have to go back to the formidable Mike Tyson days to gather further success in the top ten for the biggest names in prizefighting as UFC hits the right notes with former boxing fans disgruntled with mismatches.
Before Mayweather vs. McGregor and aside from MayPac, boxing went three and a half years without a pay-per-view hitting a million buys.
It was a worrying sign. Since then, things have evened out. Both boxing and UFC have only managed two each since Mayweather vs. McGregor.
Some of boxing’s biggest names have struggled to match Mayweather’s pulling power in recent years.
Gennady Golovkin could only sell 150,000 when facing David Lemieux in a middleweight unification, while Terence Crawford v Viktor Postol – another merger of belts, bombed at 55,000.
Sergey Kovalev v Andre Ward, a fight billed as ‘Pound for Pound’ limped over GGG’s tally with only 160,000 when projected to gain at least 250,000.
More recently, Jermall Charlo vs. Sergey Derevyanchenko could only hit 120,000, Crawford vs. Amir Khan 150,000, and Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury in 2018 gathered 325,000.
The rematch did considerably better for Wilder and Fury, though. Bob Arum exclusively told WBN the fight made upwards of 1.2m.
Apart from that, Manny Pacquiao has carried the PPV side of things with 400,000 and half a million respectively for his last two events.
Gervonta Davis – billed as boxing’s future, maxed out on 225,000 with his win over Leo Santa Cruz. Proving boxing still has a long way to go with its new generation.
Mayweather moving on has certainly hit boxing hard.
The likes of Canelo and Pacquiao still have the reputations to reach the magical million mark. However, a fight between the two – which seems to be the only one with massive selling power, is nigh on impossible to make.
Canelo is looking over and beyond 160 pounds. Pacquiao has been mulling over a return to 140 (against Ryan or Mikey Garcia), leaving the pair in different solar systems regarding weight.
There’s no doubting Golovkin had the interest to be a PPV force, but without Canelo, his fights failed to ignite.
1. May 2, 2015
Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao
HBO/Showtime – 4,600,000
2. Aug 26, 2017
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor
Showtime – 4,300,000
3. May 5, 2007
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
HBO – 2,400,000
3. Oct 6, 2018
Khabib vs. McGregor
UFC – 2,400,000
5. Sep 14, 2013
Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Álvarez
Showtime – 2,200,000
6. Jun 28, 1997
Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II
Showtime – 1,990,000
7. Jun 8, 2002
Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson
HBO/Showtime – 1,970,000
8. Aug 20, 2016
Diaz vs. McGregor 2
UFC – 1,650,000
8. Jan 24, 2021
Poirier vs. McGregor 2
UFC – 1,650,000
10. Jul 11, 2009
Lesnar vs. Mir 2
UFC – 1,600,000
10. Mar 5, 2016
McGregor vs. Diaz
UFC – 1,600,000
10. Nov 28, 2020
Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.
Triller – 1,600,000
13. Nov 9, 1996
Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield
Showtime – 1,590,000
14. Aug 19, 1995
Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley
Showtime – 1,550,000
15. May 5, 2012
Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto
HBO – 1,500,000