Terence Crawford is one of boxing’s best young fighters heading into Saturday’s light welterweight title fight against Viktor Postol, though many causal fans of the sport might not be aware of him. The champ’s popularity will be put to the test as he headlines a pay-per-view for the first time.
Crawford, 28, is already considered one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters. He’s got a perfect 28-0 record as a pro with 20 knockouts, and a win in Las Vegas this weekend could set him up to be Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent. But it came as a surprise to some when Top Rank CEO Bob Arum announced that the fight wouldn’t be available on HBO.
“The reason the fight isn’t on HBO is because HBO has many fighters that they need to show and the best you’re going to do with any fighter is two fights a year on HBO,” Arum told Yahoo Sports when the fight was made in April. “We think that it’s important for these guys to fight more than two times a year, especially Crawford. And in order to do that you have to do a fight on PPV and two on HBO.”
Crawford defeated Hank Lundy to retain his championship on Feb. 27 with a fifth-round knockout. The fight averaged 982,000 viewers on HBO, peaking at 1.071 million viewers.
"We’re not crazy,” Arum continued. “To build a pay-per-view attraction you have to start someplace. A guy doesn’t immediately do one million buys. You start relatively small and if they have an attraction to the general public it builds over time.”
Arum said he’s expecting the PPV to generate around 125,000 buys. When Pacquiao faced Timothy Bradley for a third time in April, the fight drew around 400,000 buys, a number that Arum called “terrible.” A month later, Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan did around 600,000 buys.
Postol has a similar resume to that of Crawford, going 28-0 with a light heavyweight title of his own. But Crawford is the main attraction in the unification bout.
Postol isn’t well known in the United States, where he’s only fought three times. The Ukrainian boxer doesn’t speak English, and he’s headlined just one fight card in the U.S.
Ordering the fight in HD will cost boxing fans $59.99, though the bout can be had for $54.95 in standard definition. TopRank.TV offers the option to order the fight online, and the live stream costs $49.99.
Three other fights on the card will be broadcast on the PPV, which begins at 9 p.m. ET. The main event might not start until at least 11:30 p.m. ET.