By Sean Crose
So, which fights are you going to pay a bundle for? Mayweather-Maidana? Cotto-Martinez? Chavez-Golovkin (if it even happens)? Alvarez-Lara?
How about Mayweather’s presumed September bout? Or Pacquiao’s possible November outing? Which one’s are you going to cough up a pile of green to see?
If the whispers are true, perhaps not many. For word is out in the Twitterverse that Pacquiao-Bradley II got less than 800,00 buys last weekend. That may not be true, but if it is, it’s definitely not a good thing.
Pacquiao, after all, is the second biggest star in all of boxing – hands down. If his numbers start slipping exponentially, it’s only natural to start wondering who’s next. It’s not like many think Marcos Maidana has a great chance of beating Floyd Mayweather, for instance. Seriously, is anyone comfortably certain the fight they call “The Moment” will do a million pay per view buys next month? Anyone at all?
Didn’t think so.
The truth is that those fans and analysts who have been griping online lately about the glut of pay per view events have a right to be unhappy. For most of these “events,” quite frankly, should be on pay cable. This may come as a shock, but Mayweather-Maidana belongs on Showtime. Not Showtime pay per view. Basic Showtime. Just like Alvarez-Lara does.
What’s more, Cotto-Martinez belongs on HBO. As does Chavez-Golovkin.. What’s sad is that all of the aforementioned fights – aside from Mayweather-Maidana – should be must see events. They won’t be must see events for most fans, though, because they’re going to cost a fortune to watch.
And that’s not right.
Yet I think the fans may start to strike back. In other words, I suspect that some disturbingly low pay per view numbers may begin appearing on the horizon. Why? Because people aren’t stupid. They’re really not. Sure, they can be fooled, but only for so long.
Why, for instance, should fans cough up well over a hundred bucks to see both Cotto-Martinez and Chavez-Golovkin? It’s obvious, after all, that both fights would make for an absolutely perfect HBO card. Why in the world should fans pay more than their monthly cable fees for such outings?
The bottom line is this: pay per view events should be special events, not cable worthy fights. It’s OKAY for men like Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto and Alvarez to fight on HBO and Showtime. Really, it is. Since when did HBO and Showtime become beneath the rarefied air popular fighters, anyway? It’s understandable that boxers want to make big paydays, but sometimes their respective matchups simply don’t warrant them.
Besides, boxing lovers need to catch a break. Admittedly, Pacquiao-Bradley II was a huge event. Canelo-Angulo wasn’t, though. Nor was Pacquiao-Rios. What’s more, Mayweather-Canelo wasn’t exactly Hagler-Hearns. There’s a reason many fight fans order HBO and Showtime and it ain’t to watch the movie Prometheus eleven times in a single week (seriously, HBO subscribers probably remember the dialogue better than the film’s actors do at this point).
In short, it’s high time networks, promoters, managers and executives start thinking beyond their clients and themselves. They won’t, however, if the fans don’t force them to. Bob Arum is a nice enough guy to talk to. Leonard Ellerbe comes across as pleasant enough, too. Same goes for Oscar De La Hoya and Lou DiBella. These are businessmen, though. That means they won’t change their business models unless they’re forced to.
And perhaps they should be forced to at this point. Look, it’s not my business to tell you what bouts you should and shouldn’t watch. I’d probably watch every bout out there myself if I could. Sometimes, though…sometimes it’s wise to make a point.