Saturday’s Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr exhibition bout may have drawn as many as 1.2million PPV buys according to a report by boxing expert Dan Rafel.
The hugely-respected Rafael, former lead writer for ESPN, described the number as “shockingly high” when he revealed it just three days after the two 50-somethings had fought to an eight-round draw at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show also had YouTuber Jake Paul knocking out former NBA player Nate Robinson on the undercard.
Tyson vs Jones controversy beforehand
There was much talk about whether the fight should even happen – and how well it should perform – in advance. Many boxing fans and critics scoffed. But social streaming app Triller picked up the rights to the fight and Fite TV dstributed it via its digital app. This in addition to linear PPV and DirecTV distribution. BT Sport televised in the UK at a PPV price of £20.
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
The number is even more incredible when you consider it is way higher than the most recent current boxing comparison – the Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury rematch in Las Vegas in February. That world heavyweight title bout had the might of both ESPN and Fox behind it from a promotion perspective. And it still only pulled in 850,000 buys.
Former head of HBO PPV Mark Taffet, perhaps the man best placed of anybody to comment on the numbers, backed up Rafael’s comments.
Also on Twitter, he said: “Yes, I believe same! Maybe 1.2-1.5 million. Fighters in an exhibition who have not done well in their last number of professional bouts but generated better numbers than big heavyweight fighters of today! Strange to say the least!”
Price point a plus point for Tyson vs Jones?
The price point may have helped to an extent – Tyson vs Jones was $49.99 in the US while Wilder vs Fury 2 was $79.99. But even then, it is quite something for an exhibition between two retired fighters to draw the biggest boxing PPV audience in quite a while. Tyson is now 54 years old while Jones Jr is 51.
After the success of this show, there will surely be other such ventures to come in the future. Evander Holyfield is also calling out Tyson for a trilogy fight. Their rematch in 1997 of course ended in controversy when Tyson bit part of his ear off.