Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr rolled back the years in their exhibition bout and smashed all expectations as to whether they could garner the public's attention and turn that into PPV buys.
Boxing journalist Dan Rafael tweeted that the PPV has sold an estimated 1.2million PPV's, going far and above what was expected for the pair's bout. Given that Tyson hadn't fought since losing to Kevin McBride by technical knock out for failing to answer the bell for the 7th round in 2005, and Jones since he beat Scott Sigmon by unanimous decision in 2018, the buys breaking the seven-figure mark is a remarkable achievement given their time away from the ring.
I was told today by sources well over 1 million in the U.S. -- probably in the 1.2 neighborhood, which would include traditional linear PPV, the @FiteTV digital app and DirecTV/Dish Network. A shockingly high number that will make the biggest selling #boxing PPV in quite awhile. https://t.co/T6HPqHNl32— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) December 2, 2020
In comparison, other PPVs in the last 12 months have very rarely broken the 1 million buys in MMA and in Boxing. In comparison, UFC 251: Usman vs Masvidal at Fight island raked in 1.3 million buys, and even "The Notorious" Conor McGregor and his return at the start of the year at UFC 246 vs Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone was an estimated 1 million PPV buys.
The PPV dwarfs the 800,000 buys of Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder II earlier this year. Triller, who helped promote the fight, charged the PPV price at a more reasonable $50 rather than the standard $75-80 that normal PPV's cost. This tactic, especially in the midst of a pandemic, has paid dividends substantially and could cause both MMA and Boxing to re-evaluate whether prices may need to be adjusted in the future.
Tyson said he would be returning for further exhibition bouts, whereas Jones wasn't quite as sure as to whether we would see him in the ring again, saying he would need to see if his family and team supported it going forward. What is sure however is that there is absolutely a market for exhibition bouts, and this more than likely won't be the last time we see these legends enter the ring to compete.