If Oscar De La Hoya retires, as he should, he will leave having created his own pay-per-view economy. Counting his pummeling by Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, De La Hoya's 19 pay-per-view bouts totaled $696.4 million in gross revenues.
Before De La Hoya, Mike Tyson dominated pay-per-view and could still attract one million in buys (1.6 million against Peter McNeeley!) by living off his past ferocity.
Boxing showcases its putatively best fights to the smallest audience, on pay-per-view, a model followed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Pay-per-view distribution confers special status on a bout even if it is not always deserved. Not every blockbuster film is good, either, but like pay-per-view fights, they are the ones with the biggest hype and promises of satisfaction.
De La Hoya did not always deliver, but he could, like Tom Cruise, guarantee business.