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PREDICTION PAGE: How Many PPV Buys Will #CottoCanelo Do?

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TUESDAY UPDATE: TSS has been told that the Canelo Alvarez-Miguel Cotto event did over one million buys on pay-per-view.

Good number, I asked one of the two people who said that the PPV hit over a million with a dog in the hunt?

“Very good,” I was told.

Now, this is not an exact science. Different folks will give you different numbers. The numbers sometimes get spun, but of course.

Projections and guesses, from ultra-insiders to “in the know” media,  were all over the map, from 1.5 million, down to 500,000.

Being that the last Floyd Mayweather PPV, against Andre Berto, did 400,000 plus buys, well, I do think this fan reaction, if indeed projections play out to over 1 million buys,  serves as good news to the crews involved, Golden Boy and Canelo.

Less certain is the reaction to that number from Roc Nation, Cotto’s promotional outfit. If they guaranteed Cotto $16 million, we’d have to hear from them on how they perceive this news…

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Strange time in boxing, as the exit, sorta exit, because his presence hangs over the sport, of Floyd Mayweather has left a vacuum. It needs to be filled…but Mayweather is a singular sort, a product of this age, where narcissism is now more so than ever revered, and obscene revenue collection is the same.

This weird aura is the context for tonight’s Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez clash. On surface, it would be something to get excited about. And more so than I might have thought, there are mixed feelings, among media, among fans, for #CaneloCotto.

We’ve gone over some reasons for that, and can add that MMA grabbed buzz–and I think proved there’s more of an overlap in fanbase between the two sports–in the last two weeks which probably usurped some from this super fight.

In my bubble, I see and hear almost more interest on how this fight is going to do, business-wise, than in how it will play out in the ring.

I chatted with some of my in-the-business buddies, to get a sense of that, because, well, you all seem quite curious about this facet of the event.

“I think this fight will do just under one million buys,” one industry big, with many decades under his belt, told me. I reminded him that the Mayweather-Berto thing did between 400-500,000 buys…

“I believe it does 650,000 but would not be shocked if it did 750-800,000…not would I be shocked if it only did 500,000.”

“Mr. X” said that there are seats to be bought at every price level, and “normally the gate reflects what the PPV will do.”

I reached out to Mr. Y, an expert on the PPV sphere. “I think it does about 750,000 buys,” our man said. He is usually right in the proverbial ballpark with his guesstimates…

Mr. X said competition is fierce for eyeballs, with NBA, NHL, college football and the holidays taking away from boxing buzz. It got me thinking…Is this PPV model dying? Would its death be bad for boxing? “No, it would be great for boxing fans,” X said. He noted that fans of all the “big” sports don’t ask the rooters to pony up extra to watch the good stuff. “All those sports have millions more fans than boxing does,” he said. “Boxing fans are getting tired of paying for pay-per-view. They say eff it, I will watch it for free next week.”

I don’t disagree; too often, we’re seeing fights being made as infomercials, as buildups to the grand finale, the PPV. The informercial fights aren’t pick ’ems, and fans want and deserve pick ems…

“I believe this model is dying,” X reiterated. He said as far as he knows, Cotto gets to keep the take from buys in Puerto Rico, so the event has to get like 1.2 million buys, or his promoter, Roc Nation, will be in dismal spirits. Cotto, he thinks, is guaranteed about $16 million for this fight, so lots of people have to buy this tangle for Roc to recoup. Maybe a better guarantee for Cotto would be between $6-8 million, X says. “Maybe it will be fight of the year and they get massive buys and I will be wrong…time will tell us within the next four days.”

And if you think a barn-burner and then a rematch would guarantee financial success, X pointed out that again, Cotto’s guarantee makes it hard for Roc to recoup. (Then again, we don’t know if they NEED to recoup. Maybe Jay Z is willing to be in the red for two, three, or more years, while he’s building towards an elevated place in the promotional sphere. And by the way, there is no shortage of chatter being directed at Jay for his lack of promoting. I asked someone at Roc about that. They think that chatter is hoo-hah, and the guy called the anti-Jay barbs “bush league.”)

“Oh, and Roc Nation has Rigo and Ward…neither is a big ticket seller, both are not PPV fighters…”

Bottom line, he sees high hurdles for Roc Nation, whose three big guns are charisma-challenged, not an easily forgivable sin in the social media age, where you have to rise above to cut through the chatter cluster.

I spoke to Mr. Z, a top tier dealmaker with no dog in the hunt. “I think this PPV does way less than expected,” Z said. “PPV is dead. Do you feel any heat on the East Coast? On social media?”

Hmm…point taken…but I have to assume there is much more in Latino pockets, yes?” True,” he conceded. We both agree that there is a real continuing blowback from #MayPac, as casuals felt burned by the overhype/under-deliver. Floyd’s next PPV tanked and then bigwigs expected Golovkin-Lemieux to do much better. Shall we blame Floyd? Well, when I do informal polling, talk to cabbies, and delivery guys and waiters, many of them told me they felt burned by #MayPac, and “never again!”

A West Coast deal-maker weighed in with a guess; Mr. WC said he thinks #CottoCanelo does between 450-500,000 buys, nothing close to the 1.5 million Canelo promoter Oscar De La Hoya talked about getting a week ago. Yesterday, Oscar told Andreas Hale that if #CottoCanelo ran before #MayPac, “This fight probably would have done the same as my fight with Mayweather with around 2.5 million buys.”

“750,000 would be a home run,” said WC, again with many decades in the biz under his belt. “I believe it’s going to be down for awhile,” WC said. “The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight really put a dent in it!”

We talked about if Al Haymon will steer away from the PPV model, or stick to it. “I think his hands are full with free TV,” WC stated. But I do think Haymon realizes that the PPV focus hampers long term growth, as it speaks to the rabid but small fan base. If he can be instrumental in making boxing less of an outlaw sport, so it enjoys the same revenue streams the “Big 4” sports enjoy, then there would be no need to stay glued to the structure which asks fans to pony up an extra $70 any time they want to watch the “best” matches.

Fans, drop your prediction about buy numbers in our Forum..and talk about reasons why this fight does better, or worse, than opiners are saying.

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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