Crawford vs Postol PPV – So, What Was That # Anyway?

Crawford vs Postol PPV – This past July 23rd, Terence Crawford won a wide unanimous decision over Viktor Postol in a fight that aired on HBO pay-per-view. For Crawford, a fighter who was 28-0 heading into the fight, it was his first time in the coveted role of pay-per-view headliner. But is headlining a PPV becoming a double-edged sword in today’s boxing scene?

Heading into the fight Postol presented an intriguing foil on paper. Both men were undefeated with identical 28-0 records and Postol had just won the vacant WBC belt in a stand-out performance against Lucas Martin Matthysse. Crawford flashed his technical brilliance throughout the fight and kept to his game plan, outpointing Postol comfortably and never once getting hurt in the process. Crawford is now the WBO and WBC world titleholder at 140 pounds.

Crawford has a strong fan base in Omaha and the Midwest, but little has been done to develop a wider appeal. Postol had exactly one performance on the world stage, against Matthysse, and the rest of his resume was built up largely in the Ukraine. With very little name recognition on the billboard to sell the pay-per-view and an average undercard in support of the fight, expectations were not high, and it looks like they were not met. Crawford’s talent is top shelf and blue chip, but his drawing power is not, so pairing him with Postol on PPV wasn’t economically smart.


Crawford vs Postol PPV

The numbers being bandied about are not good, as they are in the 50,000 to 75,000 buys range. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had optimistically predicted 100,000 buys and 75,000 is reported to have been the break-even mark for the event.

Crawford was in the running for a spot opposite Manny Pacquiao last year, but it did not materialize. With Pacquaio now returning, Crawford’s name surfaced again, but it appears the fight is going to Jessie Vargas instead. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach is said to have turned down Crawford and he publicly stated as much. Crawford needed the match-up with Pacquiao to put him in front of casual fans, the several hundred thousand people who will still buy the “Pacquiao” name. Instead, Crawford could see his own low sales on PPV thrown back in his face in future negotiations “you are not that big a draw.”

I don’t pretend to know the nuances of the PPV deal, but I ask the question – was Crawford taking less guaranteed money for this fight because he was given a cut of the PPV pie? With pay-per-view deals, the fighter gets a certain amount of each PPV, presumably after break even. If Crawford expected to get a PPV check down the line, with the 50,000 sales this past July 23rd, “Bud” can stop going to the mailbox; that big PPV check is not coming.

Crawford deserves credit on a number of fronts. He stepped up into the PPV ranks and faced the toughest challenge in his weight class without blinking. But now he is finding out the path to being a PPV star is not an easy transition when you do not have a country behind you.  Miguel Cotto, “Canelo” Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao, today’s three biggest PPV stars, can count on their nationalities to stimulate a huge crossover audience. Without that, Crawford is going to need Top Rank to step up and back the fighter with real promotional dollars.


Check out event results and highlights from Crawford vs Postol at The Boxing Channel.

Crawford vs Postol PPV