Home Box Office Pay-Per-View may have notched a PPV-performance victory with its May 15 Roy Jones Jr.-Antonio Tarver event, but Jones’ shocking loss could cost the company potential revenue in the near future.
The fight -- in which Jones, regarded as pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, was knocked out by Tarver in the second round -- generated approximately 360,000 buys. The rematch bout generated about 60,000 more buys than last December’s matchup between the two fighters, which Jones won in a controversial decision.
“We believed that going into the rematch, we had a chance to exceed the performance of the first fight,” HBO senior vice president of sports operations Mark Taffet said. “However, to exceed the performance of the first fight by 20% when you’re going directly against the nationally televised Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs [National Basketball Association playoff] game, it’s a remarkable achievement.”
But the loss may have derailed any potential PPV paydays for Jones later this year against such name heavyweight fighters as Vitali Klitschko and Mike Tyson. Jones won the heavyweight-championship belt from John Ruiz two years ago.
“There might have been some interest in a Jones-Klitschko or Jones-Tyson, but Jones isn’t a [PPV] draw now,” said Tony Paige, a sports-talk host at New York's WFAN radio.
Even if Jones does not fight in the fall, HBO will have plenty of PPV-boxing events to offer cable operators. The network has set an Oct. 2 Felix Trinidad-Ricardo Mayorga event, and it is working on a potential Shane Mosely-Winky Wright rematch bout for November or December.
The network will also distribute a Sept. 18 Oscar de la Hoya-Bernard Hopkins bout if both fighters win their respective fights on HBO PPV's June 5 PPV-boxing show.