By Jeff Aranow: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s next defense against WBC mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale will be televised on SHOWTIME pay-per-view on May 18, according to Mike Coppinger. With Wilder having been reportedly offered $12.5 million by Top Rank Boxing, it made it necessary for Premier Boxing Champions to put Deontay’s fight with Breazeale on PPV on Showtime for it to bring in similar money.
Whether Wilder vs. Breazeale is a pay-per-view worthy fight is another thing altogether. Wilder’s last bout against former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was a PPV worthy fight, and it did good numbers on SHOWTIME in bringing in 320,000 buys last December. However, Fury is a big name with an ability to sell fights with his promotional talent outside of the ring. Breazeale, 6’7″, isn’t a former world champion, he’s not well known, and he doesn’t have the same marketing skills that Fury has going for him.
It’s scary to think about how few PPV buys Wilder-Breazeale will pull in on SHOWTIME for the May 18 date. The only good news is that if they hurry up and get the fight signed soon, they can start promoting it immediately. That might help bring in some PPV buys if they early enough. It’s going to take some extra theatrics on Wilder and Breazeale’s part to get the boxing public in the States interested in their fight enough for them to want to plunk down whatever price they sell it for non PPV. Given the history of PPV, it’s likely that we’ll see the Wilder vs. Breazeale fight sell for $64.99.
If this fight fails to bring in a decent amount of PPV buys, you can argue that Wilder would have been better off by taking the $12.5 million offer to fight on Top Rank. Unless Wilder is given a guaranteed amount of money that he would have received fighting for Top Rank, he’ll be gambling that the fight does bring in enough money for him to get what he would have been given.
The timing for the Wilder-Breazeale pay-per-view is bad, because it comes just a month after the Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan fight, which will be shown on ESPN PPV. If boxing fans order that fight for $65, they’re probably not going to want to have a high cable bill in two consecutive months by ordering the Wilder vs. Breazeale fight for $65. If they load up the undercard with great fights, then maybe the fans will be more interested in ordering the fight on SHOWTIME PPV. Putting a bunch of well known fighters on the undercard will mean they’ll want to be paid well. If the money’s not there, then we could be seeing an undercard filled with no names in mismatches.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is said to have offered Wilder a big chunk of money similar to what Top Rank was offering for a fight with Breazeale, but he would have had to fight Anthony Joshua next. The money would have been good for Wilder, but then he’d be taking less than what he wante to get for the Joshua fight.
More fans would see Wilder’s fight with Breazeale if he had it shown on regular SHOWTIME. That would help build the Tyson Fury rematch, as long as Wilder won and looked good in doing so. But by having the Wilder-Breazeale fight on PPV, it means fewer fans will see it, and that won’t help create interest in the long run for the Wilder-Fury rematch. The basic problem is that fans aren’t interested in seeing Wilder fight Breazeale to begin with. It’s a bad fight that fans don’t want to see even if it were on free television. But when you have it on SHOWTIME PPV, then it’s asking for trouble with few fans wanting to pay to see it. Breazeale isn’t the type of fighter that will excite the fans enough for them to want to pay to see this.
“Deontay Wilder’s planned May 18 heavyweight title defense against Dominic Breazeale is pegged for Showtime PPV. Top Rank offered Wilder $12.5 million, and PBC had to contend with the eight-figure payday, necessitating PPV,” Mike Coppinger said on his Twitter.
It’s always possible that with a heavy push in the week of the fight in terms of promoting of the Wilder vs. Breazeale fight, it could bring in a lot of buys. If the fans are still excited about Wilder’s last fight with Fury, then they might want to pay to see Wilder-Breazeale on PPV. One thing that Wilder and his management can do is to make sure they constantly remind the boxing public that the rematch with Fury will be the next fight after the Breazeale match. We saw how Manny Pacquiao was able to bring in a lot of pay-per-view buys for a number of years by talking up a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. The fans always thought the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao mega-fight was just around the corner, so they kept purchasing both of the fighters’ matches year after year, thinking that they would be fighting each other soon. As it turns out, it took them six years to finally fight each other, and when they did, neither of them were anywhere near the level that they once were at when they were in their prime. It’s probably a given that Wilder and his team will start talking up the Fury rematch at the kickoff news conference with Breazeale, and then continue to talk up fight with the big 6’9″ British heavyweight the entire promotion right up to May 18.
If Wilder had agreed to Eddie Hearn’s $15 million offer for him to fight Breazeale on Dazn, he’d not only get a lot of money, but he’d also be fighting Joshua in a two-fight deal. Hearn said it himself that it would be silly for Wilder not to take his offer, because it’ll pay him more than what he’ll be getting from SHOWTIME unless the fight is put on PPV, which is exactly what’s going to happen, and if it does well.