How will Kovalev-Ward do on PPV?

November 18, 2016

On Saturday night, Sergey Kovalev will take on Andre Ward in a much-anticipated fight for a variety of titles at light heavyweight and will answer the question as to who is the best pound-for-pound boxer.  How will the HBO PPV do?

For combat sports fans, November is/will be an expensive month as Kovalev-Ward will be the third straight week for a PPV.  Pacquiao-Vargas started the month, with UFC 205 next and now comes Kovalev-Ward.  It may be argued that Saturday’s boxing event in Vegas will be the best PPV of the three.  But, for the casual combat sports fan, will Saturday’s event be worth the money in a month where you could feasibly spend over $200 on PPV.

Another issue is that Kovalev-Ward comes on one of the biggest days for combat sports in some time.  There are two UFC events and a huge Bellator card competing for eyes.

The allure of Ward, 30-0, facing Kovalev, 30-0-1, is tantalizing for boxing fans.  Ward, the former Olympian, has been criticized for not taking on challenging opponents.  He’ll get one in Kovalev.  The Krusher looked invincible as he prepared for this fight but looked human against Isaac Chilemba as he was unable to knock Chilemba out.

It’s been an underwhelming year for boxing on PPV.

April 9, 2016 – Pacquiao-Bradley III: ~400K PPV buys

May 7, 2016 – Alvarez-Khan: ~450K-600K PPV buys

July 23, 2016 – Crawford-Postol: 50K-60K PPV buys

September 17, 2016 – Alvarez-Smith: >~300K PPV buys

November 5, 2016 – Pacquiao-Vargas: ~300K PPV buys

On another note, according to Lance Pugmire, Ward will make $5 million while Kovalev will earn $2 million for Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

The Alvarez-Khan number has been rumored to be anywhere from 300K to slightly under 600K and anywhere in between.  But, the main point is that there has not been a blockbuster fight this year which has drawn truly big “Conor McGregor” numbers.  Boxing is centered on the one fight whereas the UFC packages 2 or 3 big fights together.  Still, it’s the one star (i.e. McGregor, Rousey) that does the huge numbers for the UFC.  Even Canelo Alvarez, the next big hope for boxing on PPV, had an uneven year.  While he may have done well in May against Amir Khan, he did not follow-up in September with a strong buy rate.  We already knew that Pacquiao is trending down domestically while the hope is that he does better in Asia.  As for Saturday, I do not expect Kovalev-Ward to do better than 300K PPV buys due to the aforementioned combat sports competition.  In addition, there has been little lead-up for this fight by HBO.  The shoulder programming has been less than previous HBO Boxing PPVs and the stars are less familiar to the casual viewer.

64 Responses to “How will Kovalev-Ward do on PPV?”

  1. d on November 21st, 2016 10:40 AM

    Fight Fan, how many times has boxing out gained the UFC in ppvs annually in the past 10 years?

  2. d on November 21st, 2016 10:41 AM

    FF, what sport is in the gutter and what sport is at an all time high?

    What sport can’t even generate a 300k buy ppv with their top stars?

    What sport is on life support in the US/Canada?

  3. Fight Fan on November 21st, 2016 10:57 AM

    lol d is in full meltdown as usual.

  4. turd on November 21st, 2016 11:27 AM

    fight fan i am a long time boxing fan, but boxing in the u.s in in bad shape, brining up shows that happen over seas is pretty stupid and pointless. why cant you accept that boxing in the u.s

  5. Wil on November 21st, 2016 1:39 PM

    Great fight, amazing to see that talent level mixing it up like that. 2 P4P guys vying for the unified title, it was a display of grit and talent. Looking forward to the rematch since both guys now know what the other brings

  6. Chris on November 21st, 2016 4:14 PM

    Was a good fight, had Kovalev winning but it was close. Hope a rematch happens.

    As for the PPV despite being one of the best fights boxing has put together in recent years its probably not gonna do well on PPV.

    This is a fight that should do atleast 350k, if they cant hit that then thats not good.

  7. Lel on November 21st, 2016 6:32 PM

    I don’t know why you keep bringing that up, he’s talking currently. It’s unlikely that boxing will crack big numbers anytime soon. Canelo vs khan was supposed to be huge, it had some success but nowhere near what it was expected.

  8. tops E on November 21st, 2016 8:48 PM
  9. Fight Fan on November 22nd, 2016 6:38 AM

    Wow tops good catch. Boxing owns Europe along with every continent lol.

  10. Wil on November 22nd, 2016 8:21 AM

    I had Kovalev winning by one the first time I watched it, and then had Ward winning the second time. There was just no clear winner, Kovalev owned rounds 1-4, and then Ward shined with an educated jab and underrated bodywork. I would have been fine with either man winning or a draw, thankfully we get a rematch, I hope Kovalev wins so we can have a trilogy. I have a feeling the rematch will be even better since Ward knows the power now.

  11. Fight Fan on November 22nd, 2016 8:23 AM

    Wil that’s true, after looking at the fight again I can’t score it for Kov based solely off the first few rounds and the knockdown. One thing is clear though, way too much clinching.

  12. Diego on November 22nd, 2016 8:39 AM

    I have to re-watch it, but I had Kovalev winning 7 rounds to 5 (the first 5, the 10th and one other I can’t remember), with one of those being a two point round. And by street-fighting standards (i.e. which guy would you rather be), I would rather be Kovalev.

  13. tops E on November 22nd, 2016 12:48 PM

    Watching it in mute mode…i can see ward getting more rounds…first time i had kovalev winning or a draw….also the key was the bodyshots by ward,,you can see the kvlv footwork became slower and his punches missing and his hands were down to protect the body,making ward hit the head more often….but the first few rounds was a scary kovalev– he was faster(than his fight with hopkins) accurate strong jab, combo punching with quick footwork ,predator

    Rematch would be interesting

  14. Diego on December 6th, 2016 9:20 AM

    160k PPVs. Not good.

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