Whyte vs. Povetkin will do over 300,000 buys – Eddie Hearn

By Boxing News - 08/18/2020 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn feels that Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin will bring in over 300,000 pay-per-view buys this Saturday night on Sky Box Office in their Fight Camp finale at the Matchroom Boxing HQ in Brentwood, Essex.

Hearn says Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) is a vast PPV attraction in the UK, and he has a proven track record from his past fights against Joseph Parker, Oscar Rivas, and Dereck Chisora.

What Hearn isn’t factoring into the equation for WBC interim heavyweight champion Whyte’s contest against 40-year-old Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) is the high unemployment numbers in the United Kingdom right now because of the pandemic has shut down so many businesses.

Moreover, Povetkin is old, viewed well past his prime, and he was recently knocked out by IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on September 22, 2018, in London, England. Joshua stopped Povetkin in the 7th round at Wembley Stadium and made him look old.

Is this the right time for Hearn to be peddling a fight between Whyte and Povetkin to the UK boxing public for pay-per-view? There’s a time and place for promoters to ask fans to pay to see matches, but right now, Hearn could be making a mistake in asking fans to pay to see what is is a glorified tune-up fight for Whyte.

If Dillian is as good as what Hearn has been banging on about, then how can he feel good about selling his match against 40-year-old Povetkin to the British public during these terrible economic times?

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin will do over 300,000 buys - Eddie Hearn

Hearn: Whyte shouldn’t be fighting Povetkin

“He [Whyte] shouldn’t be fighting Povetkin. He’s absolutely mad for fighting Povetkin,” Hearn said to IFL TV. “But why would you fight Povetkin? I’d give him a 10-rounder.

“You just sit on it [the Whyte vs. Fury title shot], you just push, you just goad [the WBC], and you just go every day banging the drum. Dillian is taking risk after risk.

“Don’t forget that he was mandatory when he rematched Dereck Chisora. [editor’s note: Whyte wasn’t the WBC mandatory when he fought Dereck. Dillian became mandatory last July when he beat Oscar Rivas, which took place AFTER he fought Chisora for the second time.]

“He was mandatory, #1 when he boxed Joseph Parker [in 2018], and he was #1 when he came off the deck and boxed Oscar Rivas. And now he’s #1now that’s fighting Alexander Povetkin. He’s had a hell of a run.

“When he fought Mariusz Wach, that was a keep-busy fight, and that’s why people love Dillian Whyte. When you think about it, look at the fights that Dillian Whyte has headlined on pay-per-view.

“Joseph Parker, Chisora 2, and Oscar Rivas. Three absolute wars. You know what you’re going to get with Whyte against Povetkin. You’re going to get a brutal war. I think Povetkin is a 3 to 1 [underdog against Dillian,” said Hearn.

Hearn says Whyte, 32, shouldn’t be risking his WBC mandatory spot for the winner of Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3. Whyte should be taking tune-up level opposition while waiting for his mandated title shot, according to Hearn. That sounds right, doesn’t it?

Dillian and Hearn both want these fights to be on PPV, which means that Whyte can’t fight fodder level opposition if they’re going to be consistently selling his matches to the UK boxing fans.

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin will do over 300,000 buys - Eddie Hearn

Fans aren’t going to pay to see Whyte fight on Sky Box Office if Hearn is feeding him guys like Lucas Browne, David Allen, and David Price.

Eddie expects fans to complain

“How many years where people go, ‘That ain’t pay-per-view. I ain’t buying that,'” said Hearn on Whyte vs. Povetkin. “Ask yourself this.

“Whyte-Rivas did solid numbers, and that was Dillian Whyte against Oscar Rivas and Dave Allen against David Price [for Sky Box Office pay-per-view].

“Is that bigger or smaller than Povetkin against Whyte for the WBC interim world championship for the mandatory slot for the Wilder-Fury and the rematch between Taylor and Persoon 2 for the fight of the year on June 1?

“Which is bigger? So what’s bigger? Whyte-Rivas and Dave Allen against David Price or Whyte-Povetkin? So, therefore, I’m confident because the Whyte-Rivas numbers were good,” Hearn said.

You can argue that Hearn isn’t living in the same reality that the average boxing fan is right now, as he’s wealthy, and it’s not a problem finding money. For a lot of fans, if they’re going to pay to see a right now, they want it to be a 50-50 affair where they’re not sure who’s going to win.

That’s not the case for Saturdays Whyte vs. Povetkin fight. The fans overwhelmingly view Whyte as the favorite, and the only way they feel Povetkin can win is if he scores a knockout.

With fans viewing Whyte as the favorite by a large margin, it’s tough to ask them to pay to see him fight an old guy like Alexander.

Image: Whyte vs. Povetkin will do over 300,000 buys - Eddie Hearn

Whyte vs. Povetkin will do over 300,000 buys

“Dillian Whyte is a good pay-per-view draw. The Parker numbers were massive for Whyte-Parker, over 300,000 buys, and it was the same for Chisora against Whyte,” Hearn said.

“Rivas-Whyte was over 200,000, so I’m really confident, and I think we can do over 300,000 buys here [for Whyte vs. Povetkin]. I would be [happy with those numbers].

“On the one hand, people won’t be as confident as they were three to six months ago, but for a night of boxing when you’re not going out, put the barbeque on, and I think it’ll do really well.

“If you’re moaning about not buying it, but I think you’re going to get great value for money,” said Hearn on the Whyte-Povetkin contest on Sky Box Office.

It doesn’t matter that Whyte’s past fights did well on pay-per-view against the likes of Rivas, Chisora, and Parker. Those matches took place during different times, and the UK economy was doing a lot better back then.

In 2018 and 2019, when Whyte fought those guys, there wasn’t a pandemic wiping out jabs, making it difficult for citizens. As such, it’s a lot harder for Hearn and Whyte to ask boxing fans to dig deep to pay to see him fight an old guy like Povetkin.

Maybe fans would possibly be willing to pay to see Whyte fight right now if he were facing someone like Andy Ruiz Jr, Filip Hrgovic, Daniel Dubois, Joe Joyce, or Luis Ortiz, but not Povetkin.