Boxing saw a new wave of pay-per-view offerings again in 2021, and the sport will kick off 2022 with yet another one, as Premier Boxing Champions and FOX are sticking a five-fight heavyweight event headlined by Luis Ortiz vs Charles Martin behind a $39.99 paywall.
As we mentioned Sunday, whenever a major promotional outfit like PBC, running through a major pay-per-view outlet like FOX, offers a discounted price on a PPV show, what they’re really telling you is that they know it’s not really PPV-worthy. At this point in time, anything priced under $59.99 is somewhat an admission of guilt, though Showtime’s first Jake Paul PPV with Tyron Woodley back in August was priced at $49.99, something they changed for the December rematch, which was up the full $10.
PBC have heavily contributed to what has become an absolute glut of pay-per-view in the last few months especially. Here’s what’s been on major pay-per-view in the U.S. since the start of October:
- Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3, PBC/FOX and Top Rank/ESPN+, Oct. 9 ($79.99)
- Canelo Alvarez vs Caleb Plant, PBC/Showtime, Nov. 6 ($79.99)
- Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter, Top Rank/ESPN+, Nov. 20 ($69.99)
- Gervonta Davis vs Isaac Cruz, PBC/Showtime, Dec. 5 ($74.99)
- Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley 2, Showtime, Dec. 18 ($59.99)
- Luis Ortiz vs Charles Martin, PBC/FOX, Jan. 1 ($39.99)
Just for those PPV events alone in a grand total of 84 days, boxing fans have been asked to spend $404.94.
Even if you take out the Jake Paul show because that’s more novelty than meant for “true” boxing fans, that’s $344.95. And none of this takes into account smaller pay-per-view offerings for fights from the United Kingdom that wound up on FITE TV or the like in the States, nor your subscription fees to DAZN, Showtime, and ESPN+.
No other sport is currently close to being as expensive to simply watch on TV. Even UFC, which is a PPV-modeled company in general and does well on PPV, has only had three PPV events in that time frame.
Should that last $40 come out of your pocket on Saturday? Let’s look at the card.
Luis Ortiz vs Charles Martin
Ortiz (32-2, 27 KO) and Martin (28-2-1, 25 KO) are 42 and 35, respectively, and outside of Ortiz’s two losses to Deontay Wilder in 2018 and 2019 and Martin’s loss to Adam Kownacki in 2018, they’ve both been fighting marginal opposition in recent years.
It’s a well-matched fight, really, and both big southpaws can crack. There could be some thunder in this fight. But as the main event of a PPV, this is just not great, to say the very least. Martin’s main claim to fame is winning a fluky IBF title in early 2016 when Vyachelsav Glazkov shredded his knee in the third round — an injury bad enough that Glazkov never fought again — and then he was Anthony Joshua’s first world title win less than three months later, blasted out in the second round in London.
Martin stepped the competition way back when he returned to the ring a year later, and outside of the fight with Kownacki over three years ago, he’s stayed at a pretty low level, in part because the IBF have kinda-sorta been halfway promising him a title shot, so there was no reason to take a real risk.
Ortiz is a real risk. The old Cuban has a weak resume of wins in his career, but he’s been competitive twice with Wilder before getting knocked out. The last time we saw him, which was over a year ago, he was in a farcical mismatch with Alexander Flores, which FOX bought as a main event for their largely irrelevant main network series.
Again, I don’t think this is a bad fight; I actually think it’s quite good matchmaking for the both of these veterans right now, and would have been perfectly happy to watch it on FOX where it belongs. So the question for this one is, how much is a well-matched fight between two guys who have had their shots at top level and fallen short — and aren’t likely to “break through” from here — worth to you?
Frank Sanchez vs Carlos Negron
Sanchez (19-0, 13 KO) is a Canelo Team guy, another Cuban who is coming off of a solid if pretty dull win over Efe Ajagba on the Fury-Wilder 3 card. It’s generally agreed that the 29-year-old Sanchez has the tools to be at least a top 10 sort of heavyweight, a legitimate contender.
Negron (25-3, 20 KO) is a 34-year-old Puerto Rican who fought at the 2008 Olympics and was a good amateur, but never really got out of the gate as a pro, losing to ex-middleweight Epi Mendoza via TKO in 2011, and then to Dominic Breazeale and Brian Howard via KO in 2018 and 2019. Mostly, he has run his record up against over-matched opponents, and his best looking wins on the BoxRec sheet (Cristian Galvez and Robert Alfonso) don’t look so great if you happen to then click on those guys’ names and see what made up their records.
This looks like the sort of matchup we’ve seen Sanchez in repeatedly already. It’s definitely not a step up, and it’s not even a step sideways from Ajagba. It is a step back on paper.
The question with this one is, how much is watching Frank Sanchez worth to you? Negron doesn’t bring a ton to this as a competitive matchup on paper, and let’s be clear: When you’re sizing up whether or not to buy a PPV event, “on paper” is what you’re considering. The fight has to be sold on paper. What happens after it’s either paid for or not isn’t the question.
Jonnie Rice vs Michael Coffie 2
These two big boys had an entertaining fight back in July on FOX, which not many people watched or paid attention to, with Rice (14-6-1, 10 KO) pulling a minor upset on Coffie (12-1, 9 KO).
Coffie had become something of a FOX watcher’s fan favorite, a really likable dude who made for fun fights, though it was pretty obviously a small window for him to become a contender. He’s 35 now and has the level of ability he has, and it got exposed a fair bit by Rice, who is 34 and had lost two straight to Demsey McKean and Efe Ajagba coming into that bout.
Again, good matchup for what it is, worth running back, should be on FOX. How much is the rematch of a relatively low-level but entertaining fight worth to you this Saturday night?
Gerald Washington vs Ali Eren Demirezen
The 39-year-old Washington (20-4-1, 13 KO) has been another pretty fun heavyweight over his career, giving good efforts when he’s beaten and good efforts when he wins. He’s one of those ex-football players who took up boxing in the late 2000s/early 2010s, we saw a bunch of them, and ultimately he’s probably been the best of the lot.
After turning pro in 2012, he took it slow, worked his way up, and took his cracks, with losses to the likes of Deontay Wilder, Jarrell Miller, and Adam Kownacki in 2017-19. He knocked out Robert Helenius in 2019, too, a minor upset, and then was stopped in six by Charles Martin this past February.
Demirezen (14-1, 11 KO) is a 31-year-old from Turkey who fought at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Most of his pro career has taken place in Germany, and mostly against non-challenging opposition, but he showed some of what he can do in a 2019 loss to Efe Ajagba, whose name keeps coming up here. I thought that fight was more competitive than the judges’ scores.
This is another decent matchup, would have been fine anywhere you’re not paying $40. What’s it worth to you to find out if Demirezen, who isn’t any blue chipper or anything, can beat a guy whose level has been established for years, and that level has peaked a couple notches below the top 10?
Viktor Faust vs Iago Kiladze
Ignore that he’s listed by his real name Viktor Vykhryst on BoxRec, they’ve just been slow to accept his ring name, which is what PBC will be using Saturday. Faust (8-0, 6 KO) is a 29-year-old Ukrainian, a former amateur standout who won gold at the 2017 European Championships and 2019 European Games. He made his U.S. debut in October on the Fury-Wilder 3 card, stopping Mike Marshall in three rounds, and what he showed was liked well enough that he’s back.
Kiladze (27-5-1, 19 KO) is a decent veteran, originally from Georgia (the country), now based in Los Angeles. The 35-year-old is 1-4-1 in his last six fights and doesn’t really have any good wins, but he tends to give at least a decent accounting of himself before he gets knocked out against guys like Adam Kownacki, Michael Hunter, Joe Joyce, and Efe Ajagba. If nothing else, he comes to fight, which, you know, results in him getting knocked out by better fighters.
Once again, not a bad matchup. But $40 to find out what happens here?
And that’s really the point. For pure matchup purposes, nothing on this show stinks out loud, other than maybe Sanchez-Negron, which feels like treading water for Frank Sanchez. Can you find $40 of value from what’s on paper here, especially if you’ve paid $300-350 of that other overall bill boxing has asked of you just on pay-per-view alone in the 84 days between Oct. 9 and Jan. 1?