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Will Mayweather-Alvarez be richest fight ever?

September 11, 2013|By Lance Pugmire

LAS VEGAS -- Will it set the record?

Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s anticipated junior-middleweight title fight  Saturday against Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez could threaten the 2.45 million pay-per-view buys valued at $137 million generated by Mayweather’s 2007 victory over Oscar De La Hoya.

The man who helped negotiate Mayweather-Alvarez said though it’s his tendency to think conservatively, “if there’s a fight that’s going to break the record, this is it.”

Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza said the matching of boxing’s most well-known fighter against the rising star of the sport’s fan base, “has the potential to be a historic event, on one of the best pay-per-view cards in the last 10 to 15 years.

“No one wants to miss the fight that Floyd loses, and this could be it. Floyd will be outweighed 18-20 pounds by a younger, stronger fighter.”

The bout has already broken the Nevada record for a live gate, with $19.9 million in ticket sales at the MGM Grand.

With the pay-per-view price rising to $75 for high-definition, the $137-million record could fall even if the total number of buys falls short.

“It’s a tough record to break, a big number and viewership is more fragmented now,” Espinoza said. “We didn’t have a UFC fight on pay-per-view every month in 2007.”

Although Mayweather’s May bout against little-known Robert Guerrero drew an audience of less than 1 million, his 2012 victory over Miguel Cotto had 1.5 million buys.

And Alvarez’s popularity is rising after he drew 40,000 to the San Antonio Alamodome in April.

Espinoza said Alvarez is a “phenomenon,” whose popularity is akin to Fernando Valenzuela’s in his days as a Dodger rookie.

“Canelo” has “a lot of buzz, catching on like wildfire,” he said.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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