By Keith Idec
The fantastic first fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko was well worth watching.
Viewing their heavyweight championship rematch might cost American fight fans more than their typical premium-cable subscription, though. According to industry sources cited in a story posted Thursday on ringtv.com, the Joshua-Klitschko rematch “probably” will be televised via pay-per-view in the United States.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told Sky Sports News HQ earlier this week that Joshua-Klitschko II likely will take place November 11 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Klitschko still hasn’t signed off on that date and site, but Hearn said he expects Klitschko to do so.
Their first fight, which drew a crowd of roughly 90,000 to London’s Wembley Stadium, was broadcast live by Showtime the afternoon of April 29 in the United States and by HBO on same-day delay during prime time. As part of the initial agreement between those premium-cable rivals, HBO (Klitschko) was supposed to air their rematch live, with Showtime (Joshua) televising a same-day replay.
If the rematch between England’s Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) and Ukraine’s Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) is a pay-per-view event, that deal would have to be renegotiated.
Joshua’s riveting 11th-round knockout of Klitschko was a pay-per-view fight in the United Kingdom, but pay-per-view fights typically cost between $40 and $45 less there than in the United States. Because the rematch will take place in Las Vegas, however, it probably won’t start until the wee hours of the morning November 12 in the United Kingdom.
The Joshua-Klitschko rematch likely would cost between $65 and $70 to view in HD in the United States. It also would be the third U.S. pay-per-view show within an 11-week span, following the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight August 26 and the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez fight September 16.
Though their rematch is intriguing, neither Joshua nor Klitschko is a proven pay-per-view commodity in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.