by tim dahlberg ap boxing writer
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s dominating win over Canelo Alvarez was the richest fight ever, a box-office smash at the arena and on television.
Showtime said Thursday that at least 2.2 million homes bought the pay-per-view for the bout, second only to the 2.44 million homes in Mayweather's 2007 fight against Oscar De La Hoya.
With the highest pay-per-view boxing price — at an average of more than $70 — the fight will generate nearly $150 million in revenue in TV sales alone.
Nevada boxing regulators say the gate for the bout was just more than $20 million, also a record. A total of 16,146 seats were sold for the event at an average price of almost $1,240 per ticket.
Promoter Richard Schaefer said total revenues would approach $200 million upon final count, surpassing the $165 million generated by the Mayweather-De La Hoya fight.
"You sort of reach for the stars but you don't always catch them," Schaefer said. "I was reaching for the stars but the way this fight caught fire surprised everyone."
Mayweather earned a guaranteed $41.5 million for the fight, while Alvarez was guaranteed $5 million. Both will make more based on a percentage of the pay-per-view revenue.
"It will make big paychecks even bigger," Schaefer said. "I don't know how big but certainly bigger. Much bigger."
Mayweather was as impressive as the ticket sales, outclassing Alvarez and winning nearly every round on his way to a majority decision. He remained unbeaten in 45 fights, while Alvarez lost for the first time in 44 professional fights.
The fight was a hot ticket from the time it was announced, even with ringside seats selling for $2,000. Those proved a bargain in the days leading up to the event when some tickets in the resale market were being offered for as much as $29,000.
Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said that the total gate of just over $20 million eclipsed the $18.4 million earned from 17,000 tickets for the Mayweather-De La Hoya fight. Both bouts were held at the MGM Grand arena.
Only 50 comp tickets were distributed, and promoters said before the fight that tickets were in such short supply that celebrities who normally watch for free were offering to pay.
Showtime said that the 2.2 million PPV figure was a conservative number, based on preliminary reports from cable and satellite TV distributors. When fully reported, the network said, the total buys could challenge the record set by Mayweather and De La Hoya.
Schaefer, head of Golden Boy Promotions, said he knew from the crowds attending the opening press tour in June that the fight was going to be big. Golden Boy spent nearly $10 million advertising the fight, and promoted it heavily in Hispanic markets.
"It just shows you that the health of the sport is good," Schaefer said. "There's not too many other sports than can generate $200 million in revenue in one night."
Golden Boy said previously that the fight generated the highest rating in Mexican television history, with nearly eight out of 10 households in Mexico tuning in to the free broadcast by Televisia.
"What I kept on saying to all those negative voices out there is boxing is still big," Schaefer said. "Bigger today maybe than it has been in a long time."