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Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward does 160,000 PPV buys

No one was expecting a big number, and a big number didn’t appear.

Sergey Kovalev v Andre Ward Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Surprise! The highly anticipated showdown between light heavyweights Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward wasn’t a box-office smash!

In truth, expectations going into the fight were rather tempered considering that neither Ward nor Kovalev had been on PPV before and neither is a particularly big draw. So RingTV’s reported number of roughly 160,000 PPV buys certainly sounds about right.

It still is a bit of a shame, though. Kovalev-Ward was a truly competitive fight between two top pound-for-pound fighters which ultimately lived up to it’s hype, despite a rather controversial ending.

In that sense this number has to be at least a little disappointing because this fight truly represented the best of what boxing has to offer, even though it was absent any mainstream star-power to carry the promotion. So, just to put things in perspective, Manny Pacquiao’s perceived mismatch against Jessie Vargas just a couple weeks earlier did nearly twice as many PPV buys (roughly 300,000) than Kovalev-Ward did.

It is possible that the close proximity of those two PPV’s adversely affected the latter’s performance, but I don’t really buy into that theory. As good as both Kovalev and Ward are, neither one of them transcends the niche boxing audience, which I think has much more to do with the number of sales (or lack thereof).

Now, with all signs pointing towards a rematch, one has to wonder if Part II might not be better suited for a standard HBO telecast.

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