Will HBO go back-to-back with Saturday pay-per-views in September? Dan Rafael says that even though the network isn't keen on the idea, that just might be the case.
With September 13 housing the Casamayor-Marquez showdown that almost nobody would really think to throw on pay-per-view, we're now looking at another 40-50 bones on our cable or satellite bills the following week, because Roy Jones, Jr., and Joe Calzaghe are insisting on fighting September 20th.
According to Rafael, the light heavyweights want to stay as far away from Hatton-Malignaggi as possible. That junior welterweight championship bout will take place on either November 15 or the following Saturday, with most reports being November 22. The Calzaghe-Jones organizers (Calzaghe and Jones, essentially) don't want to pile on to UK PPV buyers.
What about US PPV buyers? Back-to-back 50 dollar Saturdays? Give us a break.
The HBO feeling is that the shows are directed at different audiences. They're not. They're directed at the boxing audience. The Casa-JMM show will have a higher latino demographic buying, I'd guess, but who is the Calzaghe-Jones show aimed at in America? Jones' fans from way back? Most of them don't actively follow the sport anymore. Roy wasn't exactly pulling in big bucks for those PPVs with Prince Badi Ajamu and Anthony Hanshaw.
And I know this might sound like hatred if you don't read it correctly, so read it correctly. In the mind of most casual American fans -- that's the Roy Jones demographic, really -- Joe Calzaghe is a lot closer to Ajamu or Hanshaw than he is Felix Trinidad. Yes, Jones-Tito sold well. Those are two of the biggest stars of the 90s/early 2000s, carried by the insane Puerto Rican allegiance to Tito, the fact that it was Tito's comeback, and I really don't think Jones was higher than third on the totem pole of reasons that fight sold well.
Calzaghe is not a ratings-grabber in the States. Calzaghe-Kessler did awful ratings and Hopkins-Calzaghe generated buzz only among those of us that really cared in the first place -- though Hopkins has never been a great draw himself.
Can Calzaghe-Jones sell on PPV in the States? We'll see, but I get the feeling that everyone involved is going to come away disappointed on the business side.
There are shows I do not mind paying for. Pavlik-Taylor II was one of them, Pacquiao-Marquez II was one of them, Barrera-Marquez was one, Floyd-Hatton and Floyd-Oscar (even though not great fights, they were great events) were another couple, Cotto-Mosley was one, even Pacquiao-Barrera II, which wound up being a real letdown.
And while the "gotta buy it" PPV schedule this year has been pretty manageable for your budget (Jones-Tito, Pavlik-Taylor, Marquez-Pacquiao, Diaz-Pacquiao), we're now starting to see where it's all going.
Cotto-Margarito, Casamayor-Marquez, Calzaghe-Jones, Oscar's December fight, Pacquiao-Valero -- these fights are all coming. That's roughly $250. And that's assuming you don't pick up a Latin Fury card or anything, or that your PPV buck doesn't occasionally head over to a UFC card or even a WWE show.
So, yeah, I hate the decision. I also hate it because I wish there was some real thought put into whether or not a particular fight needs to be a PPV headliner, because I don't think either of these two fights really fit the bill. Of course, I'm one of the mooks that will dish out $100 in September to see these cards, so the joke's more on me than those that pick one, the other, or neihter.