Reed Saxon/Associated Press
Bob Arum says most fans don't care about undercards.
Bob Arum, the mercurial and often grumpy 82-year-old CEO and founder of Top Rank, Inc., made some news this past week when he announced the undercard for Timothy Bradley's WBO Welterweight Championship defense against Manny Pacquiao on April 12 in Las Vegas.
Three bouts will be offered on the pay-per-view broadcast in addition the main event.
Ray Beltran takes on former super featherweight champion Rocky Martinez in an eliminator for a title shot, Khabib Allakhverdiev defends the WBA Junior Welterweight Championship against Jessie Vargas and Bryan Vasquez faces Jose Felix for the interim WBA Super Featherweight Championship.
But the real news came when Arum told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports this:
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.
There's a bit to unpack here, so let's try and be as concise as possible.
Arum's comments certainly may have been true in the days when HBO, with whom he exclusively does business, had a virtual monopoly on the PPV boxing trade. But now, when there exists very real competition from Showtime, that logic no longer holds.
Showtime has built their brand, particularly in recent months, on the strength of providing fans with more than one quality fight on their boxing cards. People tuning in for last year's biggest event, Mayweather vs. Canelo, on PPV also got a co-feature between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse that could've headlined its own card.
It makes it much easier for the average boxing fan to fork over cash to see that event than Manny Pacquiao fighting Brandon Rios with Evgeny Gradovich vs. Billy Dib (a rematch of an ESPN Friday Night Fights bout) as the co-headliner.
And even if the undercard bouts aren't a big selling point on their own, isn't it nice to give the fans some bang for their $60-70 bucks?
So what say you boxing fans? Do undercards matter? Or do you agree with Arum?