Whilst Deontay Wilder’s latest knockout will go straight onto the highlight reel for 2022, veteran boxing journalist, Dan Rafael, is reporting that the number of people who tuned into see it was nowhere near as impressive.
The event, which was staged at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, saw Wilder return to the ring after a year out to face an in-form but ageing Robert Helenius. On the undercard, Caleb Plant delivered a spectacular knockout against Anthony Dirrell and Frank Sanchez stop Carlos Negron in a heavyweight contest.
Despite the action, Rafael reports via his Fight Freaks Unite newsletter that the event generated just 75,000 pay-per-view buys.
“The Deontay Wilder-Robert Helenius fight generated approximately 75,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States, multiple sources with knowledge of the event told Fight Freaks Unite. The figure includes buys across all platforms, be it linear pay-per-view on cable television and satellite services as well as digital platforms such as PPV. com and FITE. tv.”
Should the numbers be accurate – and it’s worth noting that nothing official has been released from PBC or Fox Sports – it will be a huge disappointment to team Wilder, who regularly clock in with hundreds of thousands of buys for their fights.
The reported low audience figures are surprising not just because the former-champion’s knockout percentage makes him one of the most watchable fighters today, but also because there was intrigue around his state of mind given that it was a comeback fight.
Wilder lost twice in a row to Tyson Fury, giving up his WBC belt in the process, and many in the sport felt that he may have taken enough damage to change him as a fighter. Of course, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ proved them wrong with his conclusive KO.
Following the victory, the WBC have ordered the knockout artist from Alabama to face another former champion in Andy Ruiz Jr, the winner of which will be next in line to challenge Tyson Fury for the belt. PBC – the promotional outfit for both Wilder and Ruiz – will be confident that their profiles should generate much more interest than the Helenius event.