Well, David Haye sure is talking a lot this weekend. The WBA heavyweight titlist is predicting that his July 2 fight with Wladimir Klitschko, which airs on Sky Box Office (PPV) in the United Kingdom, will outdo domestic numbers for the massive 2002 battle between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. From the Daily Star:
"Pay-per-view numbers will speak for themselves but I believe this will outdo Tyson-Lewis. They were both in the twilight of their careers but this fight has two champions in their prime."
Lewis vs Tyson did 750,000 buys in the UK (the Star is reporting 800K, but 750K is the number I've always seen), and an additional 1.95 million buys in the United States, grossing $106.9 million of pay-per-view revenue in the States alone. Klitschko vs Haye is not on pay-per-view in the U.S., but rather shown live in the afternoon on HBO from Hamburg, Germany.
I follow the British boxing world pretty closely, but I can't say I know whether or not David Haye is a star on the level of Lennox Lewis as a British fighter, but my gut feeling is that this is not quite the event that Lewis vs Tyson was. Tyson was a one-of-a-kind attraction -- even when people knew he couldn't fight much anymore, he was still Mike Tyson, "The Baddest Man on the Planet," and he attracted attention wherever he went. He also put in an all-time high and/or low performance in the lead-up to the Lewis fight, which put the spotlight on the bout in a big way.
Can Klitschko vs Haye sell more than 750K in the UK? Just for reference, the UK record is Mayweather vs Hatton in December 2007, which did over a million buys in the UK, combined with 850K in the States. So what do you figure Klitschko vs Haye comes in at on UK PPV?