Bob Arum hopes skeptical boxing fans understand that pay-per-view is the only economic model that would’ve worked while putting together the Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter fight.
That said, Crawford’s 89-year-old promoter realizes that Crawford-Porter will be boxing’s third pay-per-view show within a six-week span during October and November in the United States. Arum wouldn’t commit to a price point for the Crawford-Porter fight during an interview with BoxingScene.com, but he indicated Tuesday that it’ll cost less to watch their WBO welterweight title fight November 20 than the industry standard $70-$80.
“The only way you can do this fight is on pay-per-view because of the purses,” Arum said. “And I think it’ll do well on pay-per-view. But we’re gonna try to keep the price reasonable.”
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, and Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), a Las Vegas resident raised in Akron, Ohio, will reportedly earn nearly $10 million combined in guarantees based on the 60-40 purse split the WBO mandated when it ordered Crawford-Porter late in July. Both boxers also will earn portions of pay-per-view revenue from a 12-round, 147-pound championship bout ESPN Pay-Per-View will distribute from Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Crawford-Porter is set to take place two weeks after another pay-per-view show that’ll feature super middleweight champions Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant.
The 12-round, 168-pound bout between Mexico’s Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs), the WBA/WBC/WBO champ, and Las Vegas’ Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), the IBF champ, was officially announced Tuesday for November 6 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The pay-per-view distributor for Alvarez-Plant, presumably FOX or Showtime, was not named in Premier Boxing Champions’ press release.
Four weeks before Alvarez opposes Plant in their full championship unification fight, ESPN and FOX Sports will collaborate to distribute the third WBC heavyweight title bout between champion Tyson Fury and former champion Deontay Wilder. England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Alabama’s Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) are scheduled to square off October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“Canelo is fighting, and then there’s a big fight we have together with PBC, Fury and Wilder,” Arum said. “Those are two real interesting events on pay-per-view. But this one [Crawford-Porter] I think will hold its own and we’ll get a lot of people watching.”
Arum’s company, Top Rank Inc., agreed to a deal Tuesday morning for Crawford-Porter with Tom Brown, Porter’s promotional representative on behalf of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. A rescheduled purse bid for Crawford-Porter was set for noon EDT on Tuesday at the WBO’s headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The 33-year-old Crawford’s first two pay-per-view appearances – easy victories over Viktor Postol and Amir Khan – were considered commercial failures. Though published accounts vary, Crawford-Khan reportedly produced 150,000 buys in April 2019, roughly three times as many purchases as Crawford-Postol in July 2016 (approximately 50,000).
Regardless, Arum anticipates Crawford-Porter will do significantly better business than those two events because it is a bout boxing fans want to watch. The 33-year-old Porter, a former IBF and WBC welterweight champion, is considered Crawford’s top opponent in six fights since he moved up to the welterweight division early in 2018.
“People keep saying in the business that it doesn’t matter how much you charge because if people wanna watch it, they’ll pay for it,” Arum said. “But there’s a limit. You’ve gotta keep the price reasonable.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.