Spence, Garcia hopeful more PPV fights to come

Boxing

ARLINGTON, Texas — The fight between welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia, which matches two of boxing’s elite pound-for-pound fighters, will be the maiden voyage for both as headliners on pay-per-view, and both said they are hopeful the event will be a success and lead to more.

“I don’t have an exact figure in mind right now, but I would love to do a million [pay-per-view buys],” said Garcia, who acknowledged that was very unlikely. “But it’s also the first event we’re doing on pay-per-view, so you have to build up a little more. So if it doesn’t reach a million it’s OK. There’s a lot more that goes into it. It’s not fair for me or Errol to be compared to [Floyd] Mayweather and [Manny] Pacquiao.

Spence and Garcia, a lightweight world titlist moving up two weight classes to seek a belt in a fifth weight division, will meet in a much-anticipated fight between unbeaten titleholders in their prime on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Fox PPV) at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), 29, of Dallas suburb DeSoto, Texas, will be making his third title defense. He said he believes he is ahead of schedule as far as becoming a pay-per-view attraction.

“It’s great just knowing that I’ve been a pro for like six years and a lot of top guys either haven’t fought pay-per-view yet or are just now getting into talks about fighting pay-per-view,” Spence said. “So I feel like I’m way ahead of the curve. I’m happy Fox is backing me and believe in me and we can have a good promotion like we’ve been having. I’m anxious to have more after this.

“I would like [the buys] to be a couple of hundred thousand. This is my first pay-per-view and I haven’t really been on the scene that long. Floyd had his first pay-per-view after like nine years [as a pro)]. He had a lot of fights.”

The Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight world title fight generated about 325,000 pay-per-view buys in December and the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner fight did about 400,000. Promoters are hopeful the Spence-Garcia total lands somewhere in between and say alll indications, including an uptick in ticket sale, look like that is a reasonable expectation.

They said they had sold around 35,000 tickets through Thursday but hope to break the stadium record for boxing attendance. There have been three previous boxing events at AT&T Stadium, two Pacquiao fights and a Canelo Alvarez fight. Alvarez’s knockout of Liam Smith in 2016 to win a junior middleweight title drew the biggest crowd at 51,240.

“We can definitely break the record crowd for boxing,” Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer said. “The Cowboys say they anticipate a record crowd (for boxing). This fight, the last three, four days has gained unbelievable steam. Bars and restaurants [for closed circuit sales] are ahead of where Canelo and [Gennady] Golovkin were for their first fight so as far as the pay-per-view it looks very promising. All the indicators are very positive and pointing in the direction of a big event but I don’t want to jinx it.

“But it’s difficult to say, because it’s hard to know what the impact of Fox will be. There have been millions of people who have watched the various shoulder programming for this fight and the fight has been marketed and advertised a lot by Fox. So that could make a big different and help the pay-per-view be bigger than a lot of people expect.”

Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), 31, of Moreno Valley, California, who has been a pro for 13 years, is just happy to finally get to the point where he can have a major pay-per-view event.

“When you get two undefeated, pound-for-pound fighters, champions fighting each other, in their primes, it’s not very often that happens,” he said. “So it definitely deserves all of the attention, all the coverage, and when it comes to the pay-per-view, being that it’s my first pay-per-view, it’s just very special to be here. I’m excited I have made it to this platform, this level.”

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