Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Joseph Parker-Andy Ruiz pay-per-view set at $59.95

New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker versus Russia's Alexander Dimitrenko. Photosport
New Zealand heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker versus Russia's Alexander Dimitrenko. Photosport

Joseph Parker's promoters have set the pay per view price for his world heavyweight title fight against Andy Ruiz Jr at $59.95, saying it reflects the enormous cost of putting on such a historic event, plus the quality of the undercard.

There was speculation the price would be $70 or more, but in reality Duco Events would never have taken that risk, despite the cost of the December 10 fight card at Vector Arena costing $4.2 million, a sum which has risen from just over $4 million two weeks ago.

"We think that that price strikes a good balance, recognising the significance of the moment in time and... it helps us further to mitigate the risks that we've got in staging this event," Duco Events chief executive Martin Snedden said. "We're relaxed about the fact we've got that right. We think people will respond.

"There was a lot of criticism and comment about the step up... for the Takam fight, but the pay per view numbers for that fight, which I have to say are confidential, were by far the best that we've had for any Parker fight."
The price for the Takam fight in October, an IBF elimination bout, was $49.95, a sum which some used as an excuse to illegally live stream the event.

Since then Sky Television and Duco Events have taken a hard line on illegal streamers, taking several to court.

But Duco Events also appear to have taken the criticism of the leap in price - Parker's earlier fights cost $39.95 on pay per view - to heart.

"There was some interesting speculation by others that the price might have ended up somewhere between $70 or even as high as $100," Snedden said. "Had we gone to the higher end of that, I think we would have been cutting our own throats."

Apart from the Parker v Ruiz Jr main event, a bout which shapes as one of the most exciting heavyweight fights of the year, the quality of the undercard meant the price had to be a step up from Parker's clash with Takam.

"There are four fighters on the card who are ranked in the top three in the world and another couple who are ranked in the top 10," Snedden said. "Another indication of the quality of the undercard is that out of the seven fights, four are being sanctioned by the WBO. In normal circumstances we would just do the Parker fight and possibly one other fight as internationally sanctioned fights."

Jeff Horn, an Australian welterweight ranked No2 with the WBO, is one of those appearing on the undercard, as is South Aucklander Junior Fa, a 27-year-old heavyweight in his ninth fight of the year.

Fa, who famously beat Parker as an amateur, said he was grateful for the opportunity to appear before a worldwide television audience. Fa, undefeated as a professional over eight fights, will face Pablo Matias Magrine, a 37-year-old Argentine who has a 17-1-1 record.

"It's huge for us, it's worth millions of dollars of exposure to go to 100 million people," Fa's manager Mark Keddell said. "Junior is the hardest working fighter in New Zealand - he's had eight fights this year... he's training two, three or four times a day. He's an exceptional talent. He's got elite size for the game, he's obviously had the amateur pedigree, and we've talked about it - fighting in front of [Top Rank promoter] Bob Arum... so he can see how Junior hits and moves, is going to be great."

Fa, who trains with New Zealand Olympian shotputter Jacko Gill at the Millennium Institute, hopes to ranked in the world's top 15 next year, with a mandatory challenger position within the next 18 months.

- NZ Herald

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