De La Hoya: Joshua – Ngannou Fight Loses Buzz Due to Saudi Location

By Will Arons - 02/27/2024 - Comments

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya believes that the March 8th fight between heavyweights Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou won’t generate much buzz in the U.S. He feels that the location of the fight, with it being staged in Saudi Arabia, will huge fan interest in the United States.

Thus far, the Joshua vs. Ngannou fight hasn’t generated a lot of interest from mainstream American boxing fans, but that has nothing to do with the location and everything to do with those two not being popular fighters in the States. Ngannou is popular in MMA but not in boxing.

De La Hoya says that if Joshua-Ngannou were staged in the U.S., it would generate huge interest and create a record-breaking gate. That’s something that many American boxing fans would disagree with.

Many see Joshua as a carefully maneuvered, aging hype job, who fell apart when matched against Andy Ruiz and Oleksandr Usyk.

Ngannou isn’t even a boxer, and the only reason he did well in his debut was because he fought an out-of-shape, 35-year-old Tyson Fury, who has one foot out the door into retirement

Vegas Spectacle Lost

“Ngannou-Joshua, no one is going to care on this side of the pond [in the U.S.] because of the timing. It’s not going to create that much of a buzz. As big as a fight as it is, it’s not going to create a big buzz,” said promoter Oscar De La Hoya to Ariel Helwani’s YouTube channel about the March 8th fight between Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou not attracting much interest from U.S fans due to the fight being staged in Saudi Arabia.

The fight would attract interest if it were staged in Las Vegas, but it probably won’t generate a lot of PPV buys. It’s too much of a circus-level fight. It’s like taking a popular soccer player and throwing him in with a former heavyweight champion and asking fans to pay to watch it. They will laugh at the promoters and either ignore it or wait until it’s uploaded the same night on YouTube and watch it for free.

“Imagine if that fight was here in Vegas. You would have record-breaking numbers on the gate, on PPV. There are fights that can take place over there [Saudi Arabia], like Bivol vs. Beterbiev. You can have the fight there, and it’ll do great, but that’s the type of fight that won’t do good over here. So, it belongs over there, and it’s a great fight,” said De La Hoya.

De La Hoya Sounds Alarm on PBC

“It’s a sinking ship. Everybody is jumping ship,” said La Hoya when asked what his thoughts are on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). “Yes, I really do,” said De La Hoya on whether PBC is in trouble.

It’s a bad deal for the exciting fighters with PBC if they won’t be given enough dates to keep their careers going. Also, if the events are all on PPV, that’s going to make it difficult for fighters to get exposure because only hardcore fans will purchase the events on Amazon Prime PPV.

“Just from what I see and what I hear. Who is going to want to fork over all that money, guaranteed money? How many investors can you bring in? How many people can you juke? I think the perfect example is [Deontay] Wilder fighting in Riyadh. All these other fighters jumping ship. It’s happening. It literally is happening,” said De La Hoya.

If PBC goes under, it’s bad for boxing because it will be difficult for all their fighters to assimilate with the other promotional companies. There will be fewer opportunities for these fighters to be seen if PBC sinks. They would compete with other fighters to be seen on DAZN and ESPN.

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