There was undoubtedly a ton of interest in the recent Mike Tyson comeback event against Roy Jones Jr., but not all of it was positive. In fact, tracking the response we saw across our sites and social networks in general seemed to imply many people were extremely cynical about the return of “Iron Mike” at 54 in an exhibition match with very specific (and limited) rules. So when the time came down for people to shell out $50 of their hard earned dollars, would they actually do it?
It turns out that yes, they would. Early numbers for the fight had Tyson vs. Jones Jr. doing more than 1.2 million buys, and now Triller owner Ryan Kavanaugh is updating that number, claiming the event is currently sitting at 1.6 million buys (with still more buys from various cable companies still to be counted)! That would make the event the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) of 2020.
Not just in boxing ... the biggest on PPV, period.
“Despite everyone wanting for it not to work, we upset them by changing things up and making it work and dominated the conversation,” Kavanaugh told BoxingScene.
To put that 1.6 million number into context, UFC’s biggest PPV of 2020 was the last minute Jorge Masvidal vs. Kamaru Usman scrap on “Fight Island” at UFC 251 (1.3 million). Conor McGregor’s fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 came in second with 1 million buys, and UFC 253 with Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa placed third with 700,000 buys. All these numbers are extra impressive, though, given fans have to subscribe to ESPN+ before shelling out $65 to watch an event.
On the boxing side of things, nothing has come close to touching the 4.6 million buys for Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao or 4.3 million buys for Mayweather vs. McGregor bouts. However, Tyson vs. Jones Jr. was the first boxing PPV to break the 1 million buy mark since the two Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin fights in 2017/2018.
As far as Tyson PPVs go, Tyson vs. Jones Jr.’s 1.6 million slides into third place in front of the Tyson vs. Holyfield “Bite Fight,” which had 1.59 million buys. Sitting in second is Tyson vs. Lewis with 1.97 million PPV buys and Tyson vs. Holyfield 2 with 1.99 million.
Interestingly enough, both Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield have made it clear they’re interested in stepping into the ring against Mike Tyson. And while we don’t doubt there’ll be a lot of people once again moaning and complaining about aged pugilists sparring for millions, in the end we don’t doubt “Iron Mike” versus either of these men would get us to hit the buy button once again on fight night.