Terence Crawford feels that limiting the availability of his pay-per-view fight with Shawn Porter to ESPN+ was partially responsible for its buy rate falling below expectations.
Crawford expressed disappointment during his appearance on Shawn Porter’s podcast Tuesday night that their welterweight title fight wasn’t offered through traditional pay-per-view providers as well. Unlike most previous pay-per-view boxing events, consumers could only purchase the fight for $69.99 through ESPN+, the network’s $6.99-per-month subscription service.
Cable and satellite operators, which still account for a significant portion of pay-per-view buys in the ever-developing digital age, weren’t permitted to offer Crawford Porter to customers. Buyers also were required to subscribe to at least one month of ESPN+ in order to purchase Crawford-Porter, which increased the price point to nearly $77.
BoxingScene.com has been informed that Crawford-Porter didn’t exceed 150,000 buys, despite that it was widely viewed as the biggest fight of Crawford’s career. The card headlined by Crawford-Porter drew a capacity crowd of 11,568 to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, but Crawford is certain he could’ve made more money Saturday night.
“I feel like there was a lot of opportunities left on the table,” Crawford said on “The Porter Way Podcast” when asked about making more money. “You know what I mean? Not only with fighters [he could’ve fought], but also with pay-per-view. Like for instance, me and Shawn Porter fought on a app. There were so many people that was telling me they don’t know how to get the app on the TV, they don’t know how to do it. And, you know, the average elderly or person that doesn’t, you know, know tech, they not gonna know how to get the app on the TV. So, what do they do? They don’t buy it. You know, so I feel like, you know, that was a setup [in] its own right, right then and there.”
Crawford-Porter out-performed Crawford’s first two pay-per-view main events – victories over Viktor Postol in July 2016 (reportedly 50,000) and Amir Khan in April 2019 (reportedly 125,000).
Though it didn’t do the type of pay-per-view business some might’ve expected, Crawford delivered in the ring during the last fight of the three-division champion’s contract with longtime promoter Top Rank Inc. The unbeaten WBO 147-pound champion dropped Porter twice during the 10th round and forced, Kenny Porter, Shawn’s father/trainer, to wave a white towel just before the halfway point of that round.
Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) became the first opponent to stop Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs), a former IBF and WBC welterweight champion who tested Crawford before those two knockdowns. Judge Max De Luca had Crawford in front 87-84 entering the 10th round, but judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld felt Crawford was ahead by a slimmer margin, 86-85, through nine rounds.
Following his definitive victory, Crawford indicated his promotional partnership with Top Rank ended entirely Saturday night. Bob Arum, Crawford’s longtime promoter, sat a few feet to Crawford’s right as the Omaha, Nebraska, native noted during his post-fight press conference that Top Rank failed to get him the high-profile opportunity that he wants most, a welterweight title unification fight against unbeaten IBF/WBC champ Errol Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KOs).
Crawford also was asked on Porter’s podcast if he took offense to any of the criticism Arum directed at him both before and after his fourth-round stoppage of Kell Brook a year ago – most memorably that the outspoken promoter could’ve bought another house in Beverly Hills with all the money he lost promoting Crawford’s fights.
“I just sit there and laugh,” Crawford said. “You know what I mean? Because I know, you know, I’m one of the most, you know, how would I wanna say it? My [television] ratings is the highest at Top Rank. You know, when I fight, people come at every arena. You know, me and Tyson Fury, I would say, now. But if it ain’t Terence Crawford. Tyson Fury, you don’t see arenas packed like that. People fighting in, you know, the little rooms, not the big rooms and stuff like that. So, you know, I just laugh when he said things like that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.