The highly anticipated rematch between heavyweight boxers Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury could enter rarified company by breaking the 2 million pay-per-view buy barrier, according to famed promoter Bob Arum.
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Billed as “Unfinished Business,” Wilder-Fury II will decide bragging rights between the two brash heavyweights after their first match in 2018 resulted in a controversial draw. Cross-promotional efforts by Fox Sports and ESPN, who have respective deals in place with Wilder promoter Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and Fury promoter Arum’s Top Rank, could attract a huge audience to tune into the bout.
“I really believed when I found out early on, before we even had an announcement, how FOX and ESPN were gonna do this, that’s why I predicted two million,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “Now to predict two million, if this was back in the old HBO and Showtime days, that would’ve been crazy. But because of those two networks, I always thought we had a shot to equal or exceed two million buys. And I’m now, more than ever, confident.”
If Arum’s prediction is accurate, Wilder-Fury II would become just the fifth boxing match on record to exceed two million buys. All four previous instances involved matches featuring undefeated boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.
The 2015 clash between Mayweather and longtime rival Manny Pacquiao was the top-selling fight on record, drawing 4.6 million pay-per-view buys. Mayweather’s 2017 exhibition match against UFC superstar Conor McGregor ranked second, drawing 4.3 million buys.
Mayweather’s bout with Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 drew 2.4 million buys and his match against Canelo Alvarez drew 2.2 million buys, according to Boxing Scene. The buy rate record among heavyweight matches belongs to Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, who generated 1.99 million buys in 1996.
In a separate interview with Sports Illustrated’s JohnWallStreet, Arum said the fight would have to sell between 800,000 and 850,000 pay-per-views to break even against promotional costs.
The main card for Wilder-Fury II begins at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
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