Now, there's nothing left but the pay-per-view tallying in the wake of Manny Pacquiao's one-sided dismissal of a not-so-sweet "Sugar" Shane Mosley on Saturday night.
After a multimedia marketing blitz, Pacquiao upheld his end of the bargain, registering a unanimous victory against the overmatched Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Pacquiao, who knocked Mosley down in the third round, won 120-108 on one scorecard, 120-107 on a second and 119-108 on the third. The Associated Press had him winning 118-110.
The convincing, if ultimately unsatisfying victory -- Mosley managed to keep his record intact of never being KOd as the crowd booed late in the fight -- keeps alive the prospects for more pay-per-view bouts involving the "Pac Man."
Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach said after mismatch that a third bout against Juan Manuel Marquez could be in the cards, unless his charge could come to terms on a contest the entire boxing community, sports world and PPV distributors want to see -- a megafight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. A Pacquiao-Mayweather bout was derailed in 2010 over the latter's demands for random drug testing. Since then, Mayweather has begun embroiled in legal trouble and issued an ethnic, homophobic rant on Ustream against the man he is vying with for the mythical best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet designation.
There have been reports that Pacquiao-Marquez could meet in October. Marquez has twice fought Pacquiao, overcoming three knockdowns in the opening round to earn a draw when they first battled in May 2004 before losing his WBC super-featherweight title to the Filipino in a controversial split decision in March 2008.
As for Saturday night, the Pacquiao-Mosley PPV bout on Showtime benefited -- as colleague Tom Umstead and others have chronicled -- from an extensive marketing push, including airings of Fight Camp 360, a series looking at the combatants' preparation for the match, on broadcast brethren CBS.
That flanked a host of messaging across various CBS radio platforms and promos on the network. Those elements were instrumental in Showtime stepping into the PPV arena for the first time since 2005, as Pacquiao-Mosley also marked the absence of HBO from the ring, after many moons of carrying boxing's PPV charge.
Additionally, there were digital PPV simulcasts on sites run by Top Rank, Showtime and Yahoo Sports at the same $54.95 retail price as the linear PPV telecast. Moreover for the first time, cable operators, via InDemand, are able to offer a one-day video-on-demand replay of the fight, beginning Sunday at the aforementioned fee. Traditionally, the only opportunity to see a replay of a marquee PPV fight was to wait a week for the telecast to air on pay TV services HBO or Showtime.
In another first, operators were able to offer, via VOD, 11 classic fights, featuring the two main event combatants. Also featured: a same-day replay of the fighters' weigh-in festivities on May 6.
Some have written about Pacquiao-Mosley being a transformative mechanism to return boxing to the networks, a window they maintain is needed to restore the game's long-term health. Although broadcast exposure would certainly help the sweet science, the move seems unlikely. What's important in the short-term is to assess whether all of the marketing muscle, the digital simulcasts and the expanded VOD offerings contributed to an increase in Pacquiao-Mosley buy rates and revenues.
In his last bout, a Nov. 13 matchup against Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao generated 1.15 million PPV buys. That trailed the 1.4 million that Mayweather drew last May for his similar one-sided drubbing of Mosley.
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