It’s that time of the year again! PPV central! The Boxing season is only a month in and we’ve already had two PPV’s a week apart in Canelo GGG 2 and Joshua Povetkin, and we’ve got the final of the WBSS this weekend between Groves and Smith which is also a PPV. Then we as UK Boxing fans have Wilder Fury, Usyk Bellew, Warrington Frampton and the mooted rematch between Whyte and Chisora which if the purses that I read about last week are true, means that will be PPV as well. All these PPVs are on top of the average boxing fan paying for Sky Sports/BT Sport/BoxNation to be able to watch the sport they love. Understandably there has been a bit of uproar about it.
On the flip side, to get these big fights over the line, promoters have to get the fighters big purses and the way they can guarantee that is by sticking the fight on a PPV/Box Office platform. But what promoters seem to be doing more and more is relying on the sale of the main event of their PPV to generate sales, coupling the big fight with a mediocre undercard.
Because of this, I thought I’d put my thoughts to print as to what I deem makes a fight/card PPV worthy. I’ll also be given examples of this. Some you may not agree with me because of hindsight but when you look at the facts from before the fight they made PPV/Box Office sense.
What makes a fight, or fight card PPV worthy?
In my opinion a PPV fight needs to interest the casual fan, draw them into the “Big Fight”. It generally needs to be two household names going head to head. It needs to be a fight that would get casual fight fans who didn’t know the difference between a Cruiserweight and a Lightweight acting as if they were Dan Rafael. (I have friends who believed that Cruiserweight was a small weight because when they were younger and into Wrestling, the Cruiserweights were the small wrestlers…)
A perfect example of this was Mayweather vs Pacquiao. Were both boxers household names? I’d say so, in the U.K at least, even if it was just because they’d both beaten Ricky Hatton a few years before. Every man and his dog had an opinion on who would win the fight. Another example of this was David Haye vs Audley Harrison. Everyone knew who Harrison was; he’d won the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. And David Haye was known because he was the first British Heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis. Both these fights got the casual Dan Rafael’s buzzing.
Both contests were also hugely disappointing for the casuals, but I think that “hard-core” fans knew how both fights were going to pan out.
Another time that a fight can be considered PPV worthy would be a name that transcends their sport, one that is making some serious noise and history. An example is Conor McGregor. Before he announced the Khabib fight, everyone wanted to know what he was doing next after the Mayweather fight. Would he stay in boxing? Will he go back to the UFC and dominate there still?
The third example of what makes a fight card PPV worthy is if it’s an action packed card. A couple of world title- level fights involving exciting fighters, then some very hot talent as the undercard (maybe a few domestic titles on the line if it’s a British fight card).
Another thing it has to have is some good marketing. The Mayweather – Pacquiao fight was billed as the “Fight of the Century”. Both had beaten the who’s who in their weight class and the surrounding weight classes. It was the fight that everyone wanted to see. Again with the David Haye – Audley Harrison fight. We had our Heavyweight Champion going against our (at the time) last Heavyweight Olympic gold medallist. And there was the apparent bad blood between the two. Both these fights sold.
A PPV fight that got closest to ticking all these boxes (for me) and lived up to the expectation was Froch vs Groves 2. AJ vs Klitschko could have been the perfect PPV if it had a strong undercard, but Matchroom didn’t need a strong undercard because the main event sold the whole show, so that’s out. If someone wanted to find out what was the perfect British PPV then they should look at that Froch vs Groves 2:
- Two household names in the main event? Yup, if they weren’t before their first fight they definitely were after it.
- Did the fight transcend the sport? Yup! After the controversy of their first fight it was quite a big deal everywhere.
- One or more World title fights? Yup again. There was the obvious one in Froch – Groves but it also had Jamie McDonnell going for the WBA Bantamweight title
- Quality Undercard? Yup again! We had Kevin Mitchell and James DeGale both in final eliminators for world titles (I know Mitchell’s was downgraded due to him gaining too much weight between the weigh in and the fight but it was billed as an eliminator) AND we had the hottest prospect in British Boxing in Anthony Joshua continuing his impressive career.
That card was a PPV main event and card. In my opinion, the closest we’ve got to the perfect PPV/Box Office event.
Ultimately people shouldn’t moan about having to shell out the money to pay for the PPV. And people definitely shouldn’t be saying “WHO is he fighting?” Ultimately a PPV Fight/Fight card should really get the juices flowing, and with the inbound deluge, promoters would be wise to take heed of that.