For Crawford, Khan’s Alright…For Now…But Not on PPV

By Paul Magno on January 6, 2019
For Crawford, Khan’s Alright…For Now…But Not on PPV
In this writer’s estimation, the Omaha, Nebraska native is the best boxer in the world.

To see the mighty ESPN, which invested tens of millions into establishing a real boxing presence, passing the hat to consumers is downright insulting…

In a perfect boxing world, both Terence Crawford and Amir Khan would be doing something different this coming spring. Crawford would be battling Errol Spence or, maybe, paving the way for a Spence clash with a bout against Shawn Porter. Khan, meanwhile, would be battling domestic rival Kell Brook in a sold out Wembley Stadium.

But, of course, this world is not a perfect boxing world…so, we improvise and settle on the dreaded “best available” options, which, as is often the case, are not even really the best available options.

Rumors abound that Crawford will be making the second defense of his WBO welterweight title April 20 against Khan in New York’s Madison Square Garden in the main event of an ESPN pay-per-view event.

Now, before getting back to Crawford-Khan, itself, let’s talk about the sheer stupidity of a Crawford-Khan PPV.

There’s no doubting Crawford’s ability in the ring. In this writer’s estimation, the Omaha, Nebraska native is the best boxer in the world. But box office success is not a meritocracy and while he has delivered some solid ratings on ESPN (by boxing standards), one can’t help but recall the feeble 60K buys his then-career highlight fight with Viktor Postol generated on HBO PPV.

Meanwhile, Khan has a recognizable name to most hardcore boxing fans, but it’s not a bankable name in the States anymore. Maybe it’s still salable enough for an ESPN main event, but it’s hard to imagine it doing big numbers on the pay-per-view market.

But, even if Crawford-Khan does make some money as a PPV fight—it’s a load of crap for consumers.

To see the mighty ESPN, which invested tens of millions into establishing a real boxing presence, passing the hat to consumers is downright insulting. Cashing out on a monster fight to get a return on their investment is one thing, but cashing out with only three fights in the Terence Crawford business—one of them hidden on their streaming app—is a little like trying to retire with a full pension after just a year at your job.

We’d presume ESPN to be smarter at business than carny-like boxing people. If their investment in boxing was all about snatching up an underachieving, underperforming niche sport and creating something new, dynamic, and profitable with it, then the goal had to be long-term growth, building towards real payoffs. Sticking your marquee star behind a PPV paywall in the second fight after you sign him to a major deal is pure stupidity, something a nickel-and-diming promoter would do because the light bill at the corporate office needs to be paid off.

Most of all, though, the outrage over this PPV should come from fans who, despite new business models popping up and deep pockets swooping in to “rescue” the sport, are still be asked to pay twice and thrice for being loyal to the sport.

But PPV has to end if boxing can begin to fully grow. If a promoter or network can’t make a buck with a fight, then they need to explore the real reasons behind why they can’t make that buck and NOT continue to make lesser fights while counting on loyal fans to bail them out.

As for Crawford-Khan as a fight?

It’s fine. Obviously, there are better fights out there for both. But Crawford and ESPN are in a bind when it comes to opposition. Most of the big names and solid challenges are with Premier Boxing Champions and separated by network walls, so it would take huge money and a major miracle for those fights to happen.

Khan, despite clearly not deserving a title fight from a competitive sense, is a big enough name and a talented enough fighter to be a “legitimate” opponent. In a world where the top five or six welterweights can’t be considered for Crawford, Khan is a serviceable “best available” option.

But who in their right mind would pay big money for the privilege of seeing “best available” Khan facing a Crawford who should be fighting someone better?

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  1. Thrashem 05:19pm, 01/07/2019

    Khan is done as a boxer and posses no challenge. No show, no view!

  2. Pete The Sneak 12:38pm, 01/07/2019

    “But who in their right mind would pay big money for the privilege of seeing ‘best available’ Khan facing a Crawford who should be fighting someone better?”


    That’s the answer right there. Again, it all comes down to the paying public. You want this bull crap to stop? Quit buying it. Money, or lack thereof does indeed talk…Peace.

  3. Robert Ecksel 11:43am, 01/07/2019

    What the hell does either comment have to do with boxing? Zip. Nada. Nothing. This isn’t NFL.com. Or stinking Breitbart for that matter.

  4. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 09:51am, 01/07/2019

    Kasper… I broke my 2 year boycott of the NFL and watched my team, the Ravens play the Chargers. The Baltimore fans were booing as well, but they had every right to boo. Harbaugh left that bum of a quarterback, Lamar Jackson in the game when he had Flacco, a PROVEN guy in the post season and a former Super Bowl MVP,  sitting on the bench. FIRE HARBAUGH and get rid that bum, Jackson. Oh well, back to boycotting the NFL. Now everyone is making excuses for that bum, Jackson.

  5. Kasper Gutman 09:09am, 01/07/2019

    Democrat koklix at Soldiers Field booing Cody Parkey mercilessly ....the kick was tipped you dumfux!

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