20
Jan
2021

Pay Per View numbers for Mike Tyson threaten future of conformist boxing

Phil Jay 02/12/2020
Roy Jones Mike Tyson heavyweight

Joe Scarnici / Triller

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson sold over one million Pay Per Views of his over-50s battle with Roy Jones Jr. on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

According to early reports from California, Tyson vs. Jones is confirmed over the magic barrier when the final numbers are crunched.

It’s an amazing achievement for Tyson, and a testament to the crossroads boxing currently finds itself in.

But when a nostalgic PPV featuring two legends can outdo most events in the mainstream, it’s a worrying time for the sport.

Only the very top events are doing any decent business at the moment, and the likes of exhibitions and YouTube Boxing are muddying the waters.

There are real fears that the usual processes enjoyed in the sport for over fifty years will no longer exist due to the internet era in ten years.

The clamor for vloggers and those who regularly feature on social media to fight each other could soon outweigh the demand to see highly-talented fighters who don’t have such a presence.

It’s going to be a fine balance. Promoters who are now prominent in the sport as we know it are firmly at a crossroads.

Do they continue with a formula that works and has for decades, culminating in record-breaking events like Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao? – Or do they bow to the internet age and allow every Tom, Dick, or Harry who can get in shape to trade blows on their shows?

Make your choice.

Some even blame Mayweather himself for beginning the exhibitions’ trend, which directly threatens the very fabric of the sport we have come to love.

Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones J
Joe Scarnici / Triller

MIKE TYSON PPV

The snowglobe has firmly been shaken due to Mike Tyson’s return and choice to co-feature with a YouTuber.

Where it lands now is anyone’s guess.

We may never know whether those purchasing the show paid for Tyson or a YouTube vs. NBA spectacle.

Certainly, that would have been a good yardstick to measure.

The demographic for those purchases would make interesting reading if made available.


In an eye-gouging nutshell, pugilism is heading down a rabbit hole it may never recover from. It could look more like a version of Celebrity Boxing by the year 2030.

Gone are the days when the best boxers get the best paydays. That kind of purse could go to those who have the most followers on TikTok or Instagram.

Boxing has allowed the internet age in the door. There may be no way out of kicking it back out in the future.

Hold on tight. It could be a bumpy ride.

The views expressed in this article are that of the Editor, Phil Jay. WBN celebrated its 10th Anniversary on August 1st, 2020, and is the top-visited independent boxing news website in the world.

Phil Jay is an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay