Pay Per View For Andy Ruiz-Chris Arreola?
When news broke Monday night that the proposed, but not yet announced, Premier Boxing Champions Heavyweight contender main event featuring former Unified Champ Andy Ruiz and veteran Chris Arreola would become a pay-per-view event, the almost universal reaction by fans and observers was the same.
Yet, it appears to be legitimate, as insider for Boxingscene.com, Jake Donovan, reported first what he had confirmed about the April bout,
Heavyweight matchup between Andy Ruiz and Chris Arreola has been in discussion for more than a year—and finally has a date and platform. My @boxingscene story with the details: https://t.co/dBvqN4GBqa
— Jake Donovan (@JakeNDaBox) March 1, 2021
While, the return of the 33-2 Ruiz, who gained instant massive fame due to stunning TKO of Anthony Joshua in June of 2019, has some interest, make no mistake. There isn’t even slight interest in watching the fighter who hasn’t fought in 15 months, since he “ate his way” to giving back the titles to Joshua in December of 2019, headline a PPV.
Much less, for Ruiz to face, not an up and coming star in the making, etc., but a veteran, who will turn 40 years old later this week. And, a fighter in Arreola who has won only 2 out of 6 fights in the last five years of his career.
Despite what he may have been 7-8 years ago, that’s who Chris Arreola is now.
Back to California based Mexican-American Ruiz.
He’s a man who was some 20 lbs. heavier and out of shape when he let Joshua school him in the Saudi Arabian desert 16 months ago. He’s a man who’s a Heavyweight fighter that PBC wants to still try to market. And, he’s a man who’s supposedly committed with a new trainer to slim down some and be better at just 31 years of age.
Still, it’s not a fight that anyone is demanding, much less for $39.95 or greater, to headline in the domain that used to be reserved for the likes of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson back in they “Hey-Day” of Heavyweights at the end of the last century.
And sure, Joshua and former WBC Champ Deontay Wilder have been part of PPV’s over the past few years. But, the key difference is: they were unbeaten marketable champions, who had each defended numerous times already and built up their followings to bring audience to the pay-per-view platform.
This proposed fight isn’t on the same planet.
So, it only calls further into to question: what is PBC actually up to in their current contract with Fox Sports, that includes a certain number of PPV broadcast obligations?
Sure, they had one in early December on FOX PPV with return to the ring of unbeaten, Unified Welterweight champ Errol Spence at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. That fight had one of PBC’S most marketable stars making his ring return off an awful one car crash that could have killed him.
Intrigue. Star power. What people pay for, in significant numbers.
Ruiz-Arreola is a step down.
Okay, several steps down.
And, this wreaks of the narrative put forth by NYFights.com last month that PBC and Fox may be eventually ending their multi-year arrangement and soon at both of their wishes. And, that PBC is simply fulfilling an obligation to put “something” on PPV in the short term, while it plays out.
Meanwhile, they can be looking to do a different deal with the likes of CBS Sports, who they did business with and aired fights on their outlets with prior to the Fox deal or with someone comparable in the cable/digital space.
As for Fox, they can potentially be rid of a product that has been unable to bring them back any real audience post-Covid 19 shutdown of the sport for over 90 days starting this time last year.
We also wrote last Summer when Fox Sports began to shed big dollars tied to sports rights fees (including dumping out of a multi-year deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the U.S. Open Golf Coverage) that it might be a sign that their commitment to PBC and boxing could be evaporating.
Is this Ruiz-Arreola fight being attempted on PPV with an almost certain dismal financial outcome the clear clue of the above?
Or is it simply PBC trying to keep some kind of product out there for now for the fans, with fighters who have no leverage to demand significant money and are willing to go along with being be paid more if (Big IF) the public pays for them, specifically?
We are about to find out on all of it.