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Should Kovalev-Ward rematch be on HBO PPV?

Andre Ward Sergey Kovalev

By Dan Ambrose: Earlier on Monday news about the pay-per-view results for Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward fight earlier this month on November 19 on HBO. According to sources from Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, the Kovalev-Ward fight only did around 160,000 buys on HBO PPV. Ward won the fight, albeit a highly questionable 12 round split decision by the scores 114 X 3.

The numbers haven’t been confirmed officially as of yet, but if they do turn out to be correct, it leaves the question of whether the rematch between Ward and Kovalev will be televised on HBO PPV.

The fight is going to happen again, so the boxing fans are going to get a chance to see these two fighters do it one more time at the minimum. The only thing the fans don’t know yet is whether there will be a second fight on PPV. It’s unclear if HBO would make the call to reject the fight for PPV or not.

If Ward’s promoters at Roc Nation Sports and Kovalev’s promoters at Main Events want to put the fight on PPV a second time despite the low PPV results, I guess they could. I don’t know if it would make sense though for a second fight to be put on PPV with those kinds of figures.

If Gennady Golovkin’s fights haven’t been put on HBO PPV since his fight against David Lemieux last year, which was said to have brought in 150,000 buys, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Ward-Kovalev II rematch to be shown on HBO PPV. Perhaps the promoters for the two different fighters can take polls from the fans to ask them if they’d be willing to purchase a second fight.

Right about now, it might not be a good time to poll the boxing fans about the Kovalev-Ward fight, because many of them were extremely unhappy with the results of the fight, which saw Ward win a very questionable 12 round decision. It wasn’t just the odd decision by three judges who all had the identical scores, it was also the way the fight was fought.

After Ward was knocked down in the 2nd round by Kovalev, he attached himself to Kovalev like an octopus for the last three-fourths of the fight, and there wasn’t much boxing to watch after that. The referee stood and watched, and was pretty much a useless figure in the ring. The only thing the referee did was get in the way of fans wanting to see the action. He wasn’t doing anything to peel Ward off of Kovalev.

Ward had a hold of Kovalev like a giant lamprey fish, and he wasn’t letting go. Needless to say, the fight was excruciatingly boring to watch. For the brave fans that purchased the fight, I don’t know if you can count on them to buy it a second time. I don’t know how you market the fight a second time, because the highlights would be misleading if they showed action, because there was little of it in the fight.

Kovalev would throw a shot, and Ward would grab him. The referee would stand there looking useless and then wrestling would begin.

Whether a rematch take place between Kovalev and Ward on HBO pay-per-view might come down to whether Ward and Kovalev’s promoter at Roc Nation Sports and Main Events are satisfied with 160,000 buys, if that number holds true. Unless they’re extremely optimistic about their projections for the rematch, it might be better off having the fight on regular HBO. What could make it difficult to do that are the large purses the two fighters received. Ward got a guarantee of $5 million and Kovalev $2 million. I doubt that they want a pay cut for their rematch. Did the card break even after everyone was paid or did it operate at a loss. If they did lose money, then something will have to change in the rematch. Either the purses will need to be lower or they might need to think about putting the fight on regular HBO.

Who knows? Perhaps they’ll be happy with whatever the fight brings in the next time on HBO PPV.

The recent fight between WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas reportedly brought in 300,000 buys on HBO PPV. Those numbers are looking really good right now compared to the 160,000 buys reportedly by Iole’s source with Yahoo News. I don’t know if it’s possible for the Ward vs. Kovalev fight to bring in better numbers in the rematch, because the boxing world already knows the results of that fight.

They’ve heard that it was boring and that it was a controversial decision. The fans that saw the fight noticed how Ward took the fight to the inside after getting dropped in the 2nd round, and he basically stayed on the inside for the remainder of the fight grappling with Kovalev. In the 2nd half of the fight, Kovalev not surprisingly got tired.

It looked like he got worn down from 10 rounds of pure wrestling in the standup position. I don’t know that the boxing public will want to see Ward fight the same way as the first fight by taking the fight to the inside and mauling Kovalev for 12 rounds. The question is will wants want to see a second fight between Ward and Kovalev on HBO PPV after seeing the first one? I kind of doubt it. The rematch will take place. Kovalev wants his titles back and he does have a rematch clause. What we don’t know is whether the Ward-Kovalev rematch makes it on HBO PPV again.

One way of making sure that the boxing public doesn’t lose interest in paying to see a rematch between Ward and Kovalev on pay-per-view would be if HBO dropped the prices for the rematch. Instead of charging $60, they could drop it down to maybe $20 or maybe even $10. It’s just a suggestion. They’ll want they want to do obviously. I just think that the rematch might sell A LOT better if they drop the price to a nicer deal for the fans. It would be a goodwill gesture for the fans that were disappointed with the first fight, which they thought was going to be a boxing match but what out to be an ugly match of holding and mauling for 12 rounds.

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