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Showtime: Mayweather fight tops 1 million buys, 'Canelo' talks in works

May 10, 2013|By Lance Pugmire
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his unanimous decision victory against Robert Guerrero in their WBC welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his unanimous decision victory against… ( Ethan Miller / Getty Images )

Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s convincing victory over Robert Guerrero last week exceeded 1 million pay-per-view buys, prompting the head of Showtime Sports to declare the fighter’s network debut “a financial success.”

While final buy numbers will trickle in during the next few weeks, Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza told The Times on Friday that pay-per-view sales for the bout against a little-known opponent from Gilroy, Calif., are considered “a major win.”

“The fact that Floyd was able to generate more than a million buys without the benefit of a well-known opponent reconfirms that he’s the biggest pay-per-view draw in sports,” Espinoza said.

In his first Showtime fight after agreeing to a 30-month deal with the CBS-owned premium cable network, Mayweather (44-0) dominated Guerrero with his quickness and defense and cruised to a unanimous decision, 117-111, on all three judges’ scorecards.

The buys, however, did slip from his prior two fights on HBO pay-per-view, 1.5 million in May 2012 against Miguel Cotto and 1.25 million in September 2011 against Victor Ortiz.

“In the context of this opponent, we’re pleased and it’s a success for us financially, for our business and for our programming,” Espinoza said.

The Mayweather bout was publicized through reality shows that aired on Showtime and CBS, on the numerous CBS radio affiliates and by a Mayweather appearance at the Final Four in April.

Espinoza said reports speculating that Showtime fell short of its “break-even point” are “absolutely untrue.”

An official familiar with the situation but unauthorized to discuss it publicly said before the bout that Showtime would turn a profit if the bout drew 1.1 million buys.

Perhaps most importantly for the network, Mayweather emerged victorious and healthy from the bout and intends to fight again Sept. 14 in a possible super-fight against unbeaten world super-welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico.

If that fight is made, it potentially could reach 2 million buys, according to boxing officials.

Promoter Richard Schaefer reported this week that talks are underway to make the fight, and Espinoza said he too has “had talks with both the Mayweather and ‘Canelo’ sides."

“It seems like everyone is doing their best to make that fight happen,” Espinoza said. “Mayweather has assured us he’ll be ready to fight again Sept. 14.”

The challenge could be getting Alvarez to reach a figure he’s content with after his April fight against Austin Trout drew nearly 40,000 to the Alamodome in San Antonio.

In the most recent fight, Mayweather received a guaranteed $32 million base purse and Guerrero was paid $3 million.

“There’s a challenge for every Mayweather opponent to establish his value in the face of Mayweather’s overwhelming popularity,” Espinoza said. “I believe both fighters want this fight, so we’ve cleared the greatest hurdle.

“But there’s still a lot of negotiating to be done.”

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Lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter.com/latimespugmire

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