Haney vs. Prograis flops: Arum Blames cost, competition, weak fight

By Tim Compton - 12/19/2023 - Comments

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum confirms that the Devin Haney vs. Regis Prograis brought in “disappointing” numbers on DAZN PPV for their December 9th event, and he says it was a combination of factors that led to this. It wasn’t just one thing.

Arum says these are the reasons why Haney-Prograis failed to deliver PPV buys:

  • Cost: Putting on an expensive PPV event, which cost $75, in December was not the ideal time due to fans saving their money for Christmas presents
  • Competition from ESPN event: On the same night last Haney-Prograis, ESPN put on a featherweight contest between WBO champion Robeisy Ramirez and Rafael Espinoza, which turned out to be an exciting fight. In contrast, Haney vs. Prograis was boring because Devin fought defensively, trying not to get hit all night.
  • Haney vs. Prograis was not a once-in-a-lifetime type of fight. It was a fight between an aging 35-year-old Prograis, who was coming off a poor performance in his last fight against Danielito Zorrilla. Prograis is not a popular fighter, and he wasn’t the guy fans wanted to see Haney fight at 140. He was viewed as a champion that Haney & his dad, Bill, cherry-picked, purposefully selecting the oldest & the weakest of the belt-holders to ensure they could come out victorious, which they did, but fans didn’t buy it. That’s the downside of cherry-picking. It backfires on you if you don’t fight guys that fans want to see. It would have been better if Haney had chosen the riskier fight against Subriel Matias. At least fans would have wanted to see that match-up, because he’s not 35 and over-the-hill like Prograis, and he would have given Devin pure hell.

What Arum didn’t mention is the Haney vs. Prograis undercard was horrible, so bad that it was beyond words. These were the fights on the main card of the $75 DAZN PPV event on December 9th:

– Devin Haney vs. Regis Prograis
– Liam Paro vs. Montana Love
– Andy Cruz vs. Jovanni Straffon
– Ebanie Bridges vs. Miyo Yoshida

Haney vs. Prograis brings in disappointing PPV numbers

“Very, very disappointing,” said promoter Arum to Fighthype when asked what he’s hearing about the PPV numbers for the Devin Haney vs. Regis Prograis fight on DAZN from December 9th.

“You put a fight on in December on pay-per-view. Now, what are people concerned about in December? Saving up their money for Christmas presents.”

Fans would overlooked the high price of $75 for the DAZN card on December 9th if it were a good fight, but it wasn’t.

Haney already had a growing rep as a weight bully from his days fighting at 135, and he was coming off a controversial win over Vasily Lomachenko from earlier this year. Fighting style was always boring, like Mayweather lite, but even duller than his.

Haney showed zero personality during the build-up, letting his father do most of the talking, and that didn’t allow casual fans to get to know Devin.

For his part, Prograis let his strength coach Evins Tobler do all the talking, and when Regis finally opened his mouth at the weight-in, he shouted expletives.

Haney-Prograis PPV was too expensive

“The PPV is so expensive now that a lot of people that are looking to stretch their dollars to buy presents for their kids and relatives don’t want to put it into buying a fight, particularly a fight between Haney & Regis Prograis, which is not a huge once in a lifetime attraction,” said Arum.

For a fight like this, it should have been free or priced around $20 because fans didn’t want to see Haney fighting Prograis. Haney needed to give Vasily Lomachenko a rematch. It looked really bad that Haney took his controversial win over Loma and fled like a bandit that robbed a bank, and not only ducked the rematch but also ran from Shakur Stevenson. It was blatant.

“The fact that it did so poorly is not really a reflection on Haney’s marketability. It’s just a fight that took place at the wrong time against fights that were free to air on other platforms like ESPN,” said Arum.

“On ESPN, we had a terrific, terrific featherweight championship [between WBO champion Robeisy Ramirez & Rafael Espinoza on the same night as Haney vs. Prograis on December 9th] match that was a huge upset [with Espinoza beating Robeisy] against it.

“So the fact that it [Haney vs. Prograis] didn’t do well [on DAZN PPV] doesn’t mean that Haney isn’t a good pay-per-view draw, but it didn’t do well,” said Arum.

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