When you consider the almost incomprehensible financial windfall for this one fight, Floyd Mayweather is right: He and Manny Pacquiao are facing off at the right time. That’s what the money says, and money talks.
Five or six years ago, when they were likely at the peak of their physical powers, a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout might have produced a more technically sound fight than what we will see in a fortnight. But they would not have earned the money they stand to gain from this fight.
For example, on Monday, according to the The New York Times, promoter Bob Arum will transfer into a Pacquiao bank account $50 million. That’s a down payment, minus the IRS’ 30 percent cut.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Productions, would not share specifics about his boss’ pay. But he said, “I will tell you this. Floyd Mayweather’s check will be a lot more than $50 million. And then it goes from there.”
According to the contract, Mayweather is to receive 60 percent of the revenues to Pacquiao’s 40 percent. When all the pennies are calculated, both men will make more than $100 million, win or lose, which almost means no one loses. It will rank as the highest grossing fight in history, by double.
That would not have happened six years ago. But the boxing public is so thirsty now, as the sport struggles with an identity, for star power, that the meeting of the two biggest names in the game is the uber fight of recent times.
“This is a unique situation, the confluence of time and event — the two biggest fighters in the world coming together,” Ken Hershman, the president of HBO Sports, said to The Times.
Ironically and significantly, the fight began to take shape after Mayweather and Pacquiao ran into each other at a Miami Heat NBA game in January. Mayweather set up another meeting the next day at his hotel and the richest fight in history was on.
“We’re both bigger names than we were five, six years ago,” Mayweather said at his gym in Las Vegas on Tuesday. “We’re meeting at the pinnacle of our careers. The time is right.”
Mayweather made about $105 million in two fights last year, bolting him to the world’s highest paid athlete status. To keep all the money straight for this fight, The Times reported, rivals HBO (Pacquiao) and Showtime (Mayweather) are co-producing and co-distributing the pay-per-view event in a rare agreement. They have created a central accounting system.
“They distribute the revenue in accordance with the contracts of the two fighters, so that there is no side money,” Arum said. “We felt that this was the most reasonable way to go. It’s the way we’ve done it to prevent the accusations that we usually get, that this promoter is stealing from that promoter.”
All revenue from the fight — the foreign broadcast rights, closed-circuit income from bars and theaters, ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales and so on — goes into the pot. That will be about $130 million.
A pay-per-view audience of three million at $89.98 would generate an estimated $270 million. Under the deal, according to The Times, cable companies and satellite providers will receive 30 percent to 40 percent of gross pay-per-view revenues, depending on the level of marketing each does.
When the revenue is combined, the two fighters could divide around $300 million for a 12-round fight that will take less than an hour.
“The demand is what’s driving the revenue,” Ellerbe said.
There are more financial dynamics, but you get the point: A lot of money will be generated through this fight, money levels they would never have reached if they had fought six years ago.
See why Mayweather says the timing is right?