Canelo-Bivol Pay-Per-View Performs Poorly
The fight between then-pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez and WBA light heavyweight world titlist Dmitry Bivol finished with a surprising result and a disappointing pay-per-view performance.
The fight at T-Mobile Arena on May 7 — the first-ever DAZN pay-per-view card — generated a total of approximately 520,000 buys in the United States, a source with direct knowledge of the figures told Fight Freaks Unite.
That total takes into account buys on all platforms — the DAZN app, satellite services, linear television and the non-DAZN streaming option on PPV.com. The exact PPV revenue is unclear because the event had two price points, $59.99 for DAZN subscribers on the app and $79.99 for non-DAZN subscribers on the other platforms.
Nonetheless, the total is a far cry from Alvarez’s historic 11th-round knockout of Caleb Plant in November to unify all four major belts and become the first-ever undisputed super middleweight champion. That fight, put on by Premier Boxing Champions on Showtime PPV, generated about 800,000 buys (and around $64 million in domestic PPV revenue) and was a profitable event for the organizers.
For his next fight, Alvarez, who faced Plant on a one-fight deal with PBC and Showtime, weighed a two-fight offer to stay with PBC/Showtime but instead opted to return to DAZN and promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing for a two-fight deal. It began with the Bivol fight, which can’t be declared a money loser yet because DAZN and Matchroom Boxing take the longer view of it being a two-fight deal. So, it will depend on how the next fight performs.
Alvarez’s options are to invoke his right to an immediate rematch with Bivol or to return to super middleweight and defend his crown in an already agreed to third fight with rival Gennadiy Golovkin, the unified middleweight titleholder, who would rise in weight. Given how poorly the Bivol pay-per-view performed relative to expectations and event costs it would seem likely that DAZN and Matchroom Boxing will press heavily for the GGG option, even if it is ultimately up to Alvarez.
One of the reasons for the weak performance of Canelo-Bivol was because Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs), 31, of Russia, while excellent fighter, has virtually no fan base, was a big underdog and brought very little to the promotion. Still, he scored the upset by outpointing Alvarez 115-133 on all three scorecards to retain his 175-pound title for the ninth time and knocking him from his perch as the pound-for-pound king.
Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs), 31, of Mexico, a four-division champion, was moving up to light heavyweight for the second time seeking to win a second world title in the division.