By: Sean Crose
Sports Illustrated is reporting that a whopping 10 to 20 million – that’s million – people illegally streamed last month’s Tyson Fury – Deontay Wilder heavyweight title rematch. The fight, which followed a classic 2018 bout between the two men, was expected to break at least a million pay per view buys. Instead, Fury’s destructive beat down of Wilder brought in one to two hundred thousand less purchases than was expected. Eight to eight hundred fifty thousand buys is nothing to scoff at – but it’s not what most had expected – or wanted – from such a high profile match.
The publication reports “’Extraordinarily high theft”’ of the heavyweight title rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury on February 22nd resulted in a depressed PPV sales total.” While some suspected that the disappointing Pay Per View results were yet another indication of boxing not being able to effectively promote itself, the Sports Illustrated piece suggests that the data presented indicates otherwise. The article goes on:
“VFT Solutions’ Wayne Lonstein (a source who admittedly would benefit from talk of rampant piracy) said that his company tracked between ten million and twenty million ‘live views of the fight on major social media platforms’ and another ten million views in the immediate aftermath of Fury’s victory.”
No small number.
What’s more, Wilder-Fury 2 was a hybrid fight, a rarity in contemporary boxing’s dysfunctional landscape. Wilder is advised by the enigmatic Al Haymon – and England’s Fury is represented by Bob Arum and Frank Warren. What made the battle all the more unique was that ESPN – which is allied with Arum – and Fox – which is allied with Haymon – agreed to air the card as a co-promotion between the two network giants. Clearly neither broadcast entity is happy with this latest bit of news.
Sports Illustrated also highlights Eleven Sport’s Frank Golding indicating illegal streams have to do with more than just simple theft – that the quality of the product may not equal the cost. While this certainly may be true at times, it’s hard to argue that anyone who actually purchased Fury’s brutal seventh round victory didn’t feel they got their money’s worth. On the other hand, Pay Per View boxing isn’t cheap, at least not in comparison to the Pay Per View costs of UFC cards.
Kovalev Gets Shafted by Ward and the Referee Again!
By: Ken Hissner
Foul’s ended two fights while the Nevada commission allowed this to happen on the PPV event. The event was held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. Another black eye for boxing!
WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward, was given the stoppage over Russian Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 30-2-1 (16), of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, at 2:29 of the 8th round.
In the opening Kovalev outlanded Ward who did more clinching than fighting. In the second round Kovalev used an effective jab. Ward hit Kovalev low and referee Tony Weeks gave him a minute rest. In the third round Kovalev landed the best punch of the fight up until that point a right to the head of Ward. In the fourth round Ward got in a jab and right hand though Kovalev continued to press the action. Looked like the first round Ward won.
In the fifth round Kovalev bloodied Ward’s nose. In the sixth round Ward landed a good left hook to the chin of Kovalev. Kovalev continues to outpunch Ward. In the seventh round Ward outlanded Kovalev in a close round. In the eighth round Ward rocked Kovalev with a right to the head hurting him. Kovalev did his best to hold on but was hit low for the third time without losing a point. The fourth low blow doubled Kovalev over while the referee Ton Weeks suddenly stopped the fight not DQ’ing Ward but giving him the win.
Judges Glen Feldman and Dave Moretti had Ward ahead 67-66 while Steve Weisfeld had Kovalev ahead 68-65 as did this writer.
WBA Super World Super bantamweight champion Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux, 18-0 (12), of Miami, FL, hit Flores “after the bell” but the referee was overruled by the Executive Director Bob Bennett ruling a knockout over IBO Super bantamweight champion Moises “Chucky” Flores, 25-1 (17), of Guadalajara, MEX, at the end of the 1st round.
For some reason referee Robert Byrd was allowed to talk and influence Bennett while referee Vic Drakulich wanted it called a NC. Bennett said it was a punch before the bell sounded though the replay showed it was after the round. Bennett said he got word from the truck confirming it was before while HBO commentator Jim Lampley of HBO said he called someone in the truck and got the opposite answer. Roy Jones, Jr. agreed it was a knockout despite watching the replay show it was a punch “after the bell”.
In the first round Flores did all the punching until the 10 second warning when Rigondeaux grabbed Flores behind the head and hit him with a pair of uppercuts to the midsection when the bell sounded Rigondeaux hit Flores with a left hand to the head and to the canvas.
USBA Middleweight champion Luis Arias, 18-0 (9), of Milwaukee, WI, stopped Arif Magomedov, 18-2 (11) at 1:16 of the 5th round.
In a close 4 rounds Arias was allowed to clinch and hit Magomedov in the kidney and behind the head without warning from referee Robert Byrd. In the 5th round during a clinch referee Byrd out of position behind Magomedov grabbed him by the arms while Arias “sucker punched” him to the head. Referee Byrd only warned Arias without taking a point. Within 30 seconds a right hand from Arias dropped Magomedov. After beating the count Arias jumped on him causing referee Byrd to halt the fight.
WBA World light heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol, 11-0 (9), of St. Petersburg, RUS, stopped southpaw Cedric Agnew, 29-3 (15), of Chicago, IL, at 1:27 of round 4.
In the opening round Bivol dropped Agnew with a combination to the head. In the following 2 rounds Bivol beat up on Agnew who kept his hands up and threw very little in return. In the fourth round Agnew suffered a bloody nose and swelling under both eyes. Bivol landed a left hook driving Agnew back a few steps forcing referee Russell Mora to wisely call a halt.
It was a sad night for boxing. NV insists on using their own referee who are average at best. The PPV buyers got shortchanged again!