It seems there are not that many ‘suckers’ out there after all. Boxing fans, the overwhelming majority of them anyway, voted with their feet and ran as far as they could from last Saturday night’s ‘we-could-see-it-coming,’ car crash of an exhibition bout between 44-year-old Vitor Belfort and 58 years old (59 next month) Evander Holyfield.
Dan Rafael has tweeted how the Triller card – which also featured David Haye and his good buddy Joe Fournier in a bout that shaped up as nothing more than a chummy sparring session (“I didn’t want to hurt him,” Haye said afterward, before ludicrously calling out Tyson Fury), and Anderson Silva going up (and laying out) Tito Ortiz – pulled in a paltry 150K P-P-V buys, which equals roughly $7.5 million. This, as Rafael points out, is no way near enough dough to cover the fighters’ purses, to say nothing of other expenses (just how much was Donald Trump paid for his commentary duties??)
So, while last year’s Mike Tyson-Roy Jones exhibition bout was a huge success, pulling in a little over 1.6 million P-P-V buys, this flop of a number proves not all nostalgia is king. The big question now is, will this poor showing at the Box-Office (and a darn fine showing from “real” boxing fans, who stayed away in droves, in doing so proving they will not pay to see freak shows) prevent future terrible match-ups featuring badly (and dangerously) faded former world champions?
Will the platforms and the promoters be as keen now to shell out good money to have fifty-something former champs like Riddick Bowe and James Toney box? Both Bowe and Toney have upcoming celebrity bouts set, both in October. Hence, it seems it might be too late to put a stop to these two exhibitions (Toney against Jeremy Williams on October 23, Bowe against Lamar Odum on October 2). But if these two events flop, maybe the nail will be banged into the coffin of ‘freak show fights/celebrity match-ups,’ call them what you will.
Maybe Oscar De La Hoya and others will look at what happened to Evander Holyfield, then take a good look at the miserable P-P-V numbers this once-great fighter’s humiliation evening pulled in, and decide NOT to come back after all.
We can only hope. Hope we never see anything as sad and as potentially dangerous as the “fight” that went down in Miami, Florida, last weekend.