Report: Ward-Kovalev Sells Low-160K PPVs
The Nov. 19 light-heavyweight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward was one of the best matchups to be made in boxing: two undefeated pound-for-pound greats competing in their primes. Unfortunately, the quality of the fight has not translated into box-office success.
Yahoo’s Kevin Iole is reporting that Ward-Kovalev has sold a little over 160,000 PPV buys.
Hearing that the Kovalev-Ward PPV numbers are going to come in in the low 160s.
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) November 28, 2016
The fight, which Ward won by controversial decision, was not expected to perform well on pay-per-view. Neither Ward nor Kovalev is a big name outside of the boxing world despite their elite resumes of in-ring achievements. However, 160K buys is still remarkably low for a fight of such high caliber. For a frame of reference, Manny Pacquaio made his comeback a week prior in a fight with outmatched welterweight champion Jesse Vargas. That bout reportedly sold 300K pay-per-views.
According to Iole, Gennady Golovkin’s PPV debut against David Lemieux sold roughly 150K PPVs. But GGG-Lemieux was not a matchup of two of the world’s best boxers fighting to spoil each other’s undefeated records and claim the top spot on the pound-for-pound list.
If anything, the Ward-Kovalev PPV sales are indicative of the importance of star power in the world of boxing today.