After a slow 2018, the pay-per-view boxing category is expected to come out swinging in 2019.
Already two fights are positioned to vie for boxing fans’ dollars in the first quarter of next year, which would match the number of marquee fights distributed in all of 2018. Fox Sports will join the ranks of PPV distributors when it offers its first ever PPV event in March.
Fox and fight promoter Premier Boxing Champions will distribute the March 16 welterweight championship fight between current titleholder Errol Spence Jr. and four-division world champion Mikey Garcia, part of 10 televised fight cards to be carried by Fox Broadcasting and FS1 in the first three months of 2019. Fox and PBC announced the fights -- part of a recently signed, four-year agreement between the two companies -- during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
Fox Sports’ PPV distribution of the Spence-Garcia PPV fight is significant for a category that will lose one of its most dependable partners in HBO Sports, which after a 45-year run will stop airing live boxing matches beginning in 2019. If successful, Fox’s first PPV boxing event could set up the possibility of future big ticket PPV events featuring some of the top fighters in the sport, including welterweights Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter; and middleweights Anthony Dirrell, Jermall and Jermell Charlo.
The Spence-Garcia fight is expected to be preceded in the PPV arena by a proposed, Showtime-distributed fight between current PPV boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and former four-time champion Adrien Broner. The fight would mark the return of Pacquiao -- the second-most lucrative PPV fighter in history behind retired boxer Floyd Mayweather – to the PPV ring in more than two years.
The fight would also mark Showtime’s second PPV bout in as many months, following its scheduled Dec. 1 Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight championship fight.