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(Boxing) Wonderful: David Haye and John Ruiz heat-up their 4/3 fight by debating who is more boring

By Zach Arnold | January 27, 2010

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What a last couple of weeks it has been for boxing. First, the news that Allan Green would replace Jermain Taylor in the Super Six. Now, the announcement that John Ruiz will face David Haye on April 3rd in Manchester, United Kingdom. I should have known it was coming when I saw an article last week in the Boston Herald talking about Ruiz waiting around for a big booking to come.

The press conference on Tuesday for the fight got off to a roaring start when Ruiz no-showed. Ruiz, meanwhile, was spotted in Las Vegas. He told Sky Sports that British fans persuaded judges to give Haye a decision win over Nikolai Valuev. Haye called Ruiz “the cure for insomnia.” Haye’s trainer hyped up Ruiz to the British press this way: “John Ruiz has been at world level for a long time and he is the master at making talented fighters look less than ordinary,” he said.

The plan, on paper, is for Haye to beat Ruiz and then get a fight against one of the Klitschko brothers. Wladimir Klitschko will fight Eddie Chambers on 3/20 in Dusseldorf, Germany at Esprit Arena.

Well, I guess on the bright side of boxing news, there’s always Victor Conte of BALCO fame offering his services to Keith Kizer to catch drug cheats in boxing (and MMA). Pick up the phone, commissioner.

Bonus question: Any thoughts on Amir Khan leaving Frank Warren and signing with Golden Boy?

Topics: Boxing, Media, Zach Arnold | 15 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

15 Responses to “(Boxing) Wonderful: David Haye and John Ruiz heat-up their 4/3 fight by debating who is more boring”

  1. Fluyid says:

    Khan leaving Warren for Golden Boy is another example of a guy chasing the big bucks. I know that Warren is gutted, but that’s the way it goes.

    “Frank is a great promoter, and we’ve had a great career together,” Khan told the BBC in response.

    “I wanted to go with a promoter in America, and I hope they can take me to the next level. I wanted to fight over there and make my debut in America and then bring the big fights back here.”

    That’s pretty much how it goes.

  2. Brad Wharton says:

    Khan needs to get into America, because his reputation in the UK is still suffering massivly since the loss to Prescott. He’s pretty much known as Amir ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ Khan over here now.

    Warren has always been poor at getting guys into America, he’s too much of a slow builder, doesn’t like guys taking challenging fights even when they are more than ready.

    He’s lost a ton of big name fighters over the years and will continue to do so.

  3. Alan Conceicao says:

    Haye’s a pretty huge star over in the UK right now. He had a bad fight with Valuev; its hard to think of too many more fights he was in that weren’t entertaining. The Fragomeni bout was on the ugly side, I suppose, but still interesting.

    Conte I think is just looking for work. I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

    Amir Khan thinks big money will elude him as long as he’s with someone other than a major US promoter. He might be right. Of course, they probably won’t protect him as well either.

  4. Rohan says:

    Essentially US fight writers are missing the point about Haye (leaving aside his boxing credentials for the minute) – he has effectively bypased the US promotional machine – he can make big money without it. Which is not to say Richard Snaeffer’s keen interest in him (has he signed yet?) isn’t most welcome!

    Haye is an engaging character and I think given the opportunity he’d draw in America. The Valuev fight drew a 40.0 share on free to air German TV which is mind-boggling and apart from the freak show element it was Haye doing the build up.

    But more than that he’s now the new Hatton in terms of the bringing with him travelling supporters and UK PPV. Haye drew close to one million PPV buys in the UK which is just sub Hatton/Mayweather/Paq and Bruno/Tyson. If it was scaled up by population its the equivalent of a US PPV doing 5m buys abate at a lower price.

    That’s important because it means he has huge promotional clout and he doesn’t need US TV backing in order to get paid. In fact for his last fight Haye refused to go to the ring before 10pm UK time (annoying the German TV company) so not to clash with the high rating X Factor show in the UK – that shows how keenly he understands promotion and his demographic. It also suggests to me he may want to continue to fight at UK friendly times to maximise his audience over here. If he’s fighting the Klitschkos I think that makes another UK or German football stadium show likely in the summer – again it wasn’t by chance they sold 60,000 tickets for the fight that was called off.

    Warren is an old school boxing promoter who personally I hate for the poor top to bottom cards he sometimes puts on. Khan leaving him is just deserts for Warren screwing Calzaghe for £2m after losing a court case. UK company law is rather interesting and Warren put his company into adminstration as opposed to honour the debt. Khan wants big US fights and Golden Boy and Roach can do that for him. He won’t be bringing travelling support but it will be fun to see him try to chase his dream in the opposite way to Haye.

  5. A. Taveras says:

    Haye rocked the ugly giant, which is far more than most can say who have faced him. John Ruiz, despite the warranted criticism of his style in the latter part of his career, has the best resume of any active heavyweight. Ruiz also looked in great shape in his last outing. They should make a decent heavyweight scrap, at the very least as exciting as any ____ Klitschko title defense in the last 36 months. Best of all both men are classic heavyweights, and not one of these lumbering super-heavies holding the HW boxing scene hostage over the last 5 years.

  6. Oh Yeah says:

    “Haye drew close to one million PPV buys in the UK”

    I never bought the argument that Europeans wouldn’t buy UFC PPVs because only North Americans are conditioned to that behaviour.

  7. Alan Conceicao says:

    Are there even a million brits watching the UFC on ESPN or Setanta? I remember hearing the numbers were a lot lower than that.

  8. Brad Wharton says:

    @Alan: Usually between 35-50 live viewers on ESPN…considering that it’s on from 3am to 6am, thats pretty good. I believe the Sunday night repeat gets about double that…but most people record the live airing and watch it at their convenience, as the Sunday repeat is heavily edited.

    Also keep in mind that a PPV in the UK costs £14.99, as opposed to $50.

  9. Alan Conceicao says:

    I assume you mean “35-50K” in terms of people watching. In any case, that’s still a lot less than the number of people who bought Hatton/Pacquiao or Hatton/Mayweather.

  10. Brad Wharton says:

    Sorry, 35-50k obviously :-p

    Hatton/PBF did about 800k in the UK and Hatton/Pacquiao did around 1.2..but these really are the exception to the rule.

    Haye delayed his ring walk because he didn’t want to clash with a TV ‘talent’ show…to me that speaks volumes of our fickle nature as UK sports fans. Had Haye/Valuev been on at 8pm in the UK (like the German promoters wanted) then the buyrate would have been garbage in comparison.

    Another interesting note. Hatton’s deals for the PBF/Pacman fights was £7.50 for every PPV buy over 800k. Haye was on £5 for every PPV sold. That’s some good business for Haye.

    Khan, for example, is a UK boxing hero. He has a huge following from the large UK muslim comunity…yet you’re looking at 20-30k buys for his fights even though they take place at viewer-friendly times.

    What you have to remember as well is that ESPN in the UK is still a VERY niche channel. You have to have some kind of subscription-based satalite or cable to get it…then you have to pay an extra monthly fee of around £12-14 per month for ESPN. So it’s a double kick for UK fans who are still getting used to pay TV.

    I would imagine that more people subscribe to ESPN for the handfull of Premiership football (soccer) games they have. If the UFC was on Sky Sports, or a standard cable/satalite or free TV station, the figures would be much better.

    50k viewers in a country with a population as small as ours is the equivilent of about 280k in the US. I can’t imagine the UFC doing those kind of numbers if the PPV’s started at 3am in the states.

  11. Rohan says:

    The UK market really shows the value of good promotion. Haye did an awesome job promoting the Valuev fight and got paid for it. Sky were happy business partners as well. Its no coincidence that Haye and Adam Booth (his manager) have publicly referenced UFC’s prmoting style as something they admire.

    Khan and Frotch – arguably better boxers with equally exciting styles – have not been to date canny enough to promote their fights to a mass audience.

    I don’t think UFC would draw on PPV. I think UK fans have been conditioned to see it as regular programming as opposed to an event by Bravo, Setanta and now ESPN. However it is a valuable TV commodity and would have been more valuable if the UFC100 coverage didn’t go tits up.

    Brad – how does that make UK fans “fickle” in a bad way? Per capita Haye drew a bigger PPV audience than any US PPV in history (I believe their record is just under 5m with nothing of that magnitude for years). Of course not completing with the highest rated programme on TV and going live later in the evening when blokes are likely to be watching is sensible promotion. US PPVs main events go live at 10-11pm usually on the east coast for a reason.

  12. Brad Wharton says:

    Rohan – Fickle in that we’ll turn out in droves for a Haye PPV, just not if the X-Factor is on the other channel at the same time.

    If the bell time on that fight was two hours earlier, you could cut those numbers in half, and that’s being generous.

  13. Iain says:

    Brad, you talk as if you can prove that the Haye buy rate would have been lower, had it started earlier.

    There’s no evidence and the link of “a lot of people wathed both at different times, so less would have watched one at the same time” doesn’t hold water.

    The two are pretty much the complete opposites in terms of target demographic and, even combined, they still only account for less than half of the UK. There were a lot of people watching other stuff as well.

  14. Brad Wharton says:

    Iain: Then why did Haye point blank refuse to begin his ring walk until the show in question was off the air?

    Boxing is an 8/9pm sport in Germany, Haye annoyed fans, promoters and broadcasters by making them wait untill 11pm local time to get it started.

    So I ask you: Why go to the hassle if he didn’t think that the X-Factor would have taken a significant chunk out of his PPV buys?

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