Ward vs Kovalev PPV buys prediction
In boxing, how often do we see two unbeaten, top 5 pound-for-pound champions who are believed to be in their primes get the opportunity to face one another?
That's what we're getting with Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev next week.
Ward vs Kovalev is one of the best match-ups over the last ten years and the biggest, most significant fight of 2016, and one of the most significant in light heavyweight history.
But unfortunately, the number of pay-per-view (PPV) buys won't be reflective of this fight's magnitude nor will they come remotely close.
For starters, Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, despite their magnificent accomplishments, aren't household names in the U.S. like Mayweather, Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto. In fact, they aren't yet on the same level as emerging mainstream stars Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
Casual fans simply aren't excited about this showdown.
Secondly, neither Ward nor Kovalev have strong fanbases a la Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez.
And third, ever since Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, the boxing pay-per-view market in the U.S. has been in a lull. PPV prices have increased while casual fans' interest level has decreased.
Quality match-ups, ever since Floyd vs Manny, are underperforming at the box office.
Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward PPV buys prediction
So how will Kovalev vs Ward perform?
A fight of this magnitude deserves to get at least 1.5 million buys. And if casual fans knew more about the fighters, Ward vs Kovalev would, at the very least, flirt with 1.25 million.
But according to BoxingScene.com, Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, insists 250,000 buys would be a reasonable expectation.
Keep in mind, May's superfight between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan was rumored to have generated 450,000 - 500,000 buys.
Ward vs Kovalev is a hardcore fan's dream. Any boxing fan without an extremely high interest in this bout isn't a true junkie. As a result, don't be surprised if it exceeds Ms. Duva's modest expectations.
Given the pros and cons revolving around this fight, look for Ward vs Kovalev to generate roughly 400,000 PPV buys.
The equalizer: Although neither Ward nor Kovalev have Canelo's drawing power and, arguably, Khan's name recognition, hardcore fans are a lot more excited for Andre vs Sergey.
It still may not reached Canelo vs Khan's volume, but it will far surpass 250,000.
Below is a list of estimated PPV buys based on various sources for fight cards post Mayweather vs Pacquiao in May 2015.
Canelo vs Cotto - 900,000
Canelo vs Khan 450,000 - 500,000
Mayweather vs Berto - 400,000 - 500,000
Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 - 400,000 - 500,000
Canelo vs Smith 250,000 - 300,000
Golovkin vs Lemieux - 150,000
Are you buying Ward vs Kovalev?