Sky Sports’ PPV events better than HBO’s?
By: Jordan Seward
Pay-per-view events are very important to boxing fans because the days of boxing on terrestrial TV are long gone, despite Cyclone promotions’ best efforts. Boxing fans have become reliant on the promotional and production companies getting the PPV events right.
However, after the Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Liam Smith fight one thing was painstakingly obvious, and I’m not talking about who was the better fighter but about the sheer discontent of the boxing fans who either paid through the nose to get it, or stayed up at all hours to watch the PPV card put on by HBO and Golden Boy Promotions.
The main event fight between Alvarez and Smith was for the latter’s WBO world super-welterweight title and although Smith was game and competitive enough, anyone watching it would have to concede the Merseyside man was convincingly relieved of his belt by the much classier Mexican.
The main event itself attracted some criticism with people questioning Smith’s ability in comparison to Alvarez’s and it was labelled as an advertising stage for the Mexican to showcase his much superior skills. However, it was the fight which preceded the main event that came under severe scrutiny.
It was former Gennady Golovkin victim, Willie Monroe Jr’s unanimous decision victory over Gabriel Rosado to take the vacant WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title, that left fans in desperation of a mirage of something much more entertaining, perhaps an image of paint drying would’ve proved preference as opposed to watching another second of the middleweight contest.
So, a main event consisting of two fighters with the gap in quality anything but tenuous, and a dull, uninteresting fight for what most would deem an irrelevant title doesn’t bode well for any justification that the main event and undercard was of a PPV standard. With that in mind, the other two fights prior to – which composed Saturday’s bill, panned out exactly as expected with the underdog’s winning a combined number of less than five rounds.
Being geographically placed in the UK, I don’t come into enough contact with HBO boxing and its product on offer, but my guess is from the number of people that have had their say time and again about paying for one-sided fights, tedious cards and being deprived of super fights because of evasive promoters, it’s not a product that seems to offer quality to its consumers on a regular basis.
Despite many boxing fanatics having their opinion on Matchroom and Sky Sports, be it on their commentary, reporting or production, there are a lot less complaints of the fights and cards produced by Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports.
Sky Sports have still made major blunders in the past and have hosted poor PPV events, for example the Kell Brook vs Frankie Gavin headline fight. However, the card featured Anthony Joshua, which ironically didn’t bother people about the predestined result, and Kevin Mitchell and Jorge Linares battled it out in a fight-of-the-year contender which helped pave over the cracks to what was a poor headline event.
On the other hand, Sky Sports and Matchroom have produced some of the biggest and most spectacular PPV fights in the last few years, even if they have mainly concerned a British audience as opposed to a worldwide audience. I’m not sure if you heard but Carl Froch knocked out George Groves in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley.
Matchroom and Sky Sports were pivotal for creating fights for the British fans but British boxing has taken off so much these once for the casual British fan events have been moulded into huge boxing events that appeal to a much larger audience. Sky Sports working with Matchroom have created a platform worthy of the biggest and best fighters in the world and have hosted true pay-per-view events – outlined most recently by the Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook Middleweight world title fight which also featured two other world title fights on the undercard.
Sometimes these big fights that draw so much anticipation by the fans can result in an anti-climax – you only have to look at the Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg fight. But the fight got made, it comes down to supply and demand and the demand was there so Matchroom and Sky Sports supplied it, even if it was a pay-per-view event that limped across the finish line.
On the whole, though, Matchroom and Sky Sports have progressively improved with fight-selection and pay-per-view making. Anthony Crolla’s world lightweight title fight with Jorge Linares this weekend at the Manchester Arena has not been made a pay-per-view event despite it shaping up to be a highly competitive clash, which highlights my last point, especially when considering Canelo-Smith was anything but competitive, yet, it was still deemed a PPV headline event.
A little indication that perhaps the pay-per-view events on offer across the pond, exceed those on offer to the American boxing fans.