The first fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward had disappointing pay-per-view numbers, but initial reports show that the sequel flopped even more.
According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, Ward vs. Kovalev 2 had only 125,000 buys, which is about 35,000 less buys than the first fight which took place back in November. Interestingly enough, when HBO aired the fight on TV on June 24, there were 752,000 viewers.
After a controversial end to the first fight, with Ward taking home the unified light heavyweight titles, Ward stopped Kovalev midway through the fight to retain his title.
This continues a recent string of disappointment for HBO in the pay-per-view department. Aside from the Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. May 6 event, which did more than a million buys, HBO has not cracked 200,000 or more buys in a boxing pay-per-view in four of their last five boxing cards. Starting with the colossal disappointment that was Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol last summer (55,000 buys), HBO averaged just more than 300,000 pay-per-views since last year.
While Ward had a guaranteed $6.5 million purse for the fight, Kovalev’s purse pretty much relied on the pay-per-view buys. The reported 125,000 buys means Kovalev’s pay for this fight will amount to just a small fraction of what Ward will ultimately make.
The network’s next pay-per-view figures to be its best one in years with Gennady Golovkin defending his unified middleweight titles against Alvarez on September 16.