The boxing media has been in an uproar since Top Rank put on back-to-back dismal undercards on pay-per-view shows featuring Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in October and Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios in November.
Now, Arum is pitting the winners of those bouts, Bradley and Pacquiao, in a rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12 in the main event of an HBO Pay-Per-View.
He told Yahoo Sports on Thursday he'd made three fights that will appear underneath Pacquiao-Bradley on the PPV undercard: Ray Beltran-Rocky Martinez in a lightweight title eliminator; Khabib Allakhverdiev against Jessie Vargas for the WBA super lightweight belt; and Bryan Vasquez against Jose Felix for the interim WBA super featherweight title.
Arum, though, isn't sure how much, if anything, the fights will add to the show's pay-per-view sales.
"In theory, yes, it makes sense to say, let's go get a lot of good, interesting fights and put them on the [pay-per-view] undercard, but the truth is – and I've been doing this a long, long time – 90 percent of the people don't want to see the undercard and don't care about it," Arum said. "But there is a point to the argument that we should give the other 10 percent something to watch that they'll enjoy, so we decided to try to put together a fun card for them."
Arum was adamant that his research shows the vast majority of consumers buy pay-per-view cards based upon their interest in the main event. He said he also has personal experience. Arum said he attended a party to watch the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez pay-per-view and said not many guests seemed interested in watching the very heavily praised undercard, which featured Danny Garcia against Lucas Matthysse.
"People are eating, talking to each other, having a drink, having fun, and they don't give a [expletive] about the undercard," Arum said. "Even in the arena, you're lucky to get the people in there for the semi-main."
To my way of thinking, the undercard shouldn't necessarily be viewed as a way to sell additional pay-per-views, but to A) give the consumers more for their money and B) create new fans who may see exciting fights they weren't expecting.
How much does the quality of the undercard influence your decision? If you love the main event but you think the undercard is terrible, will you pass on the show? Is there any way the undercard convinces you to buy?
Let us know in the comments below.
- Bob Arum
- Manny Pacquiao
- Timothy Bradley