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Pay-Per-View Worthy?

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Last week, Golden Boy Promotions announced that on March 8th from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Saul Alvarez will return to the ring (following his defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather last September) against Alfredo Angulo. Rounding out that show could be the trio of Leo Santa Cruz, Omar Figueroa and Jorge Linares.
 
They are calling this promotion “Toe-to-Toe” and it figures to be a fun night of action. It’s a card that will provide good entertainment from top-to-bottom (really the most important thing) but it has to be asked: Is it really worthy of being on pay-per-view? Yeah, it would be a very good-looking card on Showtime but is it one the masses are willing to shell out $50-$60 dollars for?
 
That’s the question.
 
Already, boxing fans will be counted on to spend at least several hundreds of dollars in 2014 to watch the biggest names in the upcoming year (http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/66360480/). They’re accustomed to paying for the likes of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who both simply make too much to be paid through a network license fee. But their patience (and bank accounts) will really beginning to stretch if Alvarez-Angulo is put on pay-per-view. This is a classic “fight fans’ fight card” or perhaps more specifically, a “Mexican fight fans’ fight card” (“‘Canelo’ Fury,” if you will) but isn’t this what you pay your monthly cable bill for?

Showtime, which has made major strides in the last year or so with its boxing franchise, should be fighting like hell to keep this on its “Championship Boxing” series because the bottom line with its business is subscribers (satisfying the existing ones and continually adding new ones). While Mayweather is great for branding, only the rebroadcast of his fights are on the network. “Canelo” is the kind of fighter who is a true attraction. Not only has he done consistently good ratings on HBO and Showtime and sold tickets on both sides of the border, he also brought value as a pay-per-view commodity. Over the past several years, Mayweather pay-per-views have done in the range between 1-1.5 million as he faced the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto. But with Alvarez as the B-side, “Money” did in the two million-buy range.
 
So yeah, there is absolutely an argument to be made that Alvarez is already something of a pay-per-view franchise. However, it’s one thing to co-headline versus the world’s most valuable boxer; it’s something completely different to carry a pay-per-view against an opponent that the general populace isn’t all that familiar with. Even the likes of Mayweather, Oscar De la Hoya and Pacquiao didn’t become exclusive to pay-per-view till much later in their careers. It’s already been announced that all three of “Canelo’s” fights this year would have the acronym “PPV” attached to it (although that could change. More on that later).
 
At age 23, is he the kind of guy you’re prepared to spend an extra 50-to-60 bones every time out for the next decade or so? And against guys coming off stoppage losses like Angulo?
 
There are usually two reasons why certain fights are pay-per-view. First, as aforementioned, a certain fight or fighter simply costs too much to be on premium cable. In other cases, at the end of fiscal year, the budget of a network is diminished and a fight is put on this platform. Neither is the case with Alvarez-Angulo, according to sources. This event is on pay-per-view at the insistence of Alvarez for whatever reason. There are some who will be involved in this promotion not so sure that this wouldn’t be better served being televised by Showtime.
 
Perhaps common sense will take over. And before you scoff, it has happened before. If you recall, Alvarez’s bout against Josesito Lopez in September of 2012 was originally a pay-per-view promotion. But as Top Rank Promotions placed the middleweight title tilt between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez on that same date (and in the same city), Alvarez-Lopez was quickly shifted to Showtime. This past December’s bout between Marcos Maidana and Adrien Broner was slated to be on pay-per-view before eventually being broadcast on Showtime, where it played to a much bigger audience than it would have otherwise.
 
Can history - and logic - repeat itself?
 
PPV PROJECTIONS
 
There’s no doubt Golden Boy, Showtime and Alvarez will be leaning on the Mexican/Latin fan base to carry “Toe-to-Toe” but the really successful pay-per-view cards are those that get the casual fans to buy in. Personally, I think this card will do around 300,000 buys (with a lot more disgruntled fans streaming it).
 
If it does 300,000 buys at 60 bucks a pop, that’s right around nine million in revenue for the promotion (as the revenue is split between the promotion and the cable/satellite operators). This means Alvarez is in line to make at least five-to-six million dollars. So yeah, the math does work with rather modest numbers.
 
Now, if it does near the half-million range, well, you can pretty much expect “Canelo” to be on pay-per-view from here on out.
 
THE CRUELEST SPORT
 
Carlos Acevedo is a must-read for me. I think his stuff is simply fantastic. My only complaint is he doesn’t write enough. His latest is on the same subject that I talk about and as usual, it’s quite enlightening and entertaining:
 
 
FINAL FLURRIES
 
 
I’m told that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is signed, sealed and delivered for his March 1st rematch versus Bryan Vera...Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of K2 Promotions, says Gennady Golovkin will return to the States on April 26th at the Theater at Madison Square Garden if everything goes well on February 1st in Monte Carlo...Antonio DeMarco returned this weekend with a second round KO of Jesus Gurrola in Tijuana...Can’t wait to see round three of the Seahawks and ‘Niners...The Lakers have hit rock-bottom but I get the feeling it can actually get worse...Free “A-Rod” (or not)!…Ican be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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