Bob Arum remains confident that Devin Haney will defend his four lightweight titles versus Vasiliy Lomachenko in his next fight.
The teams for both boxers have led their promoter to believe Haney-Lomachenko can be scheduled for before Ramadan begins March 22. Haney is a devout Muslim, therefore the 12-round bout between Haney (29-0, 15 KOs), of Henderson, Nevada, and Ukraine’s Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) must take place either before the Muslim month for fasting, prayer and reflection starts or after it ends April 21.
“Loma wants that fight next,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “Egis [Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager] wants the fight next. And Bill Haney wants to do that fight.”
Arum also is confident that his company, Top Rank Inc., will have enough money available in its 2023 budget to televise Haney-Lomachenko live on ESPN, rather than making it a pay-per-view event.
“My hope is to do as few fights on pay-per-view as possible,” Arum said, “because I really believe that putting these fights on pay-per-view is not a wise thing to do. Now, other people might find difficulty in this. It’s not a wise thing to do because people aren’t buying the pay-per-views. And it costs a lot of money to do it. Even if the fighters don’t take guarantees, they hate you afterwards because they haven’t made money. I think that’s the problem Haymon is running into.”
The 90-year-old Arum alluded to Premier Boxing Champions’ Al Haymon having difficulty finalizing an agreement for the unbeaten welterweight champion Arum previously promoted, Terence Crawford, to face the undefeated, unified 147-pound champion Haymon represents, Errol Spence Jr. Crawford and Spence both have publicly acknowledged that they were willing to fight without guarantees and would’ve been paid strictly off percentages of the overall revenue from the event, primarily pay-per-view and ticket sales.
Whether it’s Crawford-Spence or other fighters, Arum considers the pay-per-view model harder to successfully utilize than ever.
“Piracy has an adverse effect surely on pay-per-view,” Arum said. “But I think, at least from what the cable companies and satellite providers tell us, that since the pandemic, people don’t want crowds in their house. They don’t wanna do big parties with 25 or 30 people. Before the pandemic, people used to use these pay-per-view events to entertain. And if they had even 20 people in their house to watch the pay-per-view, they wouldn’t think about pirating the signal because they wouldn’t wanna be embarrassed if it went down. So, they were willing to put up the money for the pay-per-view. Particularly with the Hispanics, that’s the way they entertained. And in many cases, they all pitched in for food and for the cost of the pay-per-view.
“But since the pandemic, people are reluctant to have large numbers of people congregate in their homes. And that’s what really killed the business, because you can’t think you can charge $70 for a guy who’s sitting at home to watch it. That doesn’t make any economic sense for anybody. Even if it’s $80, it’s nothing if you have 20 people. So, until we figure out how you present these events not on the traditional pay-per-view platform, but some other way, we’re always gonna fail.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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