Who's the bigger draw, Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao? If the official numbers are indication in Las Vegas, it's the Filipino.
The gate from last weekend's showdown between Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto— which will air on HBO Saturday (10 p.m. ET/PT) — was $8.84 million with 15,470 tickets sold.
That's 3,500 more tickets sold and $2 million more than what Mayweather's comeback from a near two-year layoff drew when he fought Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in September on Mexican independence weekend.
No tickets were sold beneath face value for Pacquiao-Cotto. For Mayweather's bout, 94 tickets were sold at 50% discount and 895 were comps, or giveaways while just 46 comps were doled out for Pacquiao-Cotto.
Pacquiao, who began his career at 106 pounds, won a major belt in his seventh different weight class and captured a share of the lineal welterweight championship with a 12th-round stoppage of Cotto. Mayweather is the division's former champion.
This week, Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions — on behalf of Mayweather — entered negotiations with Top Rank chairman Bob Arum in hopes of reaching a deal for Pacquiao-Mayweather in 2010.
A major sticking point to making the bout will be the purse split. Based on the numbers, Pacquiao appears to have the leverage because he's the bigger draw.
Pacquiao earned at least $20 million for the fight with Cotto, and the Puerto Rican will make at least $12.5 million if it reached one million pay-per-view buys (official numbers are expected to be released by HBO PPV on Friday).
Mayweather-Marquez is the leading pay-per-view show of 2009 with one million buys, surpassing the 850,000 that Pacquiao drew when he fought Ricky Hatton on May 2.
Pacquiao's bout with Cotto, however, is expected to eclipse that.
"Richard and I have put a lot of big fights together," said Arum, the last being the Pacquiao-Hatton fight. "I find him a good person to negotiate with because we negotiate seriously. Sometimes you can't make a deal because you're so far apart. But the chances of making a deal is great if you're negotiating seriously."