Among boxing aficionados, the title duel for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) light-welterweight crown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas May 2 has, to say the least, been eagerly anticipated. HBO is calling the Ricky “Hitman” Hatton versus Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao bout the first “mega-fight” of 2009, as British brawler Hatton faces Filipino Pacquiao.
This fight matches boxing’s unofficial pound-for-pound champion – Pacquiao – against one of the world’s most popular brawlers. With Pacman’s following in Asia and Hitman’s support in Europe, there’s tremendous global appeal.
Each fighter, both 30 years old, is guaranteed a base salary of about $12 million for the high-profile bout.
Considering championship boxing’s critics – too many sanctioning bodies, too many crowns, not enough marquis names – and an economy that’s clearly less than robust, how have ticket sales fared in the secondary market for this fight?
Joellen Ferrer, corporate communications manager for StubHub, said, “Looking into our sales numbers, the excitement for this huge fight hasn’t yet peaked, but I expect the interest will pick up as we get closer to the fight.”
StubHub has tickets ranging from $401 to $487 for some nosebleeds to $9,500 near the watch-out-for-the-spraying-blood ropes. RazorGator lists similar prices, $414 to $5,871, while TicketsNow shows tickets from $374 to $9,095. The Garden Arena seats more than 17,000.
Tickets on TicketNetwork, parent company of TicketNews, start at $359 and run up to $8,012.
Ferrer said that “[Last] December’s Oscar De La Hoya-Pacquiao bout averaged $1,620 and is currently our second-highest grossing boxing match in company history, trailing only Floyd Mayweather, Jr.-De La Hoya in 2007.” She added that this past November’s Hatton-Malignaggi bout (Hatton won) averaged $771.
“So far, sales for the May 2 fight fall in between these two fights. The demand naturally isn’t as high as last year’s De La Hoya-Pacquiao ‘Dream Match,’ but it is certainly a larger draw saleswise than Hatton-[Paulie] Malignaggi,” Ferrer said.
Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) is the reigning WBC lightweight champion and is aiming for a fifth weight crown against Hatton, who holds the IBO junior welterweight belt. Pacman is moving back down one weight class to face Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), the famously hard-living British star, winner of his most recent fight November 22 against Malignaggi. Hatton suffered his only pro loss in December 2007, beaten by Floyd Mayweather, Jr., as a welterweight.
Mayweather, Jr., who since retired, has intimated that he’s considering coming back to fight the winner of the Pacquiao-Hatton bout.
“That would be a huge fight regardless and would certainly attract a widespread fanbase in the boxing community,” Ferrer said. “I would expect secondary ticket sales to be very strong and competitive for this potential fight.”