Danny Flexen weighs up the wisdom of placing Chris Eubank Jr vs John Ryder on a ppv platform
A super-middleweight showdown between Chris Eubank Jr and John Ryder had long been rumoured for the end of September on ITV Box Office. While that date now appears optimistic, talks are ongoing, with Ryder recently telling us the match is all agreed at his end. A sticking point may well be whether the contest is worthy of a pay-per-view platform, so we present the case for and against.
Eubank Jr is a name
The Eubank family name carries weight and, like it or not, Chris Jr is now an established ppv attraction. All of his last six fights have been on ITV Box Office, including wins over lesser lights like Avni Yildirim and Renold Quinlan (the JJ McDonagh victory was on the undercard of the WBSS final). He is charismatic, gives it all in the ring and has engaged in big fights with George Groves and James DeGale.
What’s at stake
Ryder is the mandatory contender for the Super WBA belt currently held by Callum Smith. Eubank is No. 2 for both the WBC and WBA. The winner of their fight is virtually guaranteed a world title shot - Ryder would actually be risking his - and a major event, against Smith or even new Matchroom signing Billy Joe Saunders, who has beaten the pair, albeit in close fights, in the past.
Ryder is not a name
John is a talented and hard-hitting southpaw, trained by Tony Sims and promoted by Matchroom, but has built an impressive resume largely in the shadows and, unlike Eubank, does not care much for social media. Competing in the same era as DeGale and Groves until recently, maybe now is the time for humble Ryder to finally emerge as a star. But, crucially, he is not there yet and the concern is if boxing fans will pay a premium price for a guy they saw losing to Rocky Fielding on regular Sky Sports. He is in the form of his life, however, and appeared on the most recent Canelo Alvarez undercard.
Proliferation of ppv
With this fight getting pushed back it may end up not far away from the likely October 26 Sky Sports Box Office show featuring the Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis WBSS final and Joseph Parker vs Dereck Chisora. Then we have the Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr rematch in early December, not to mention Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Luke Campbell this week and Tyson Fury against Otto Wallin in two weeks. All ppvs, with the exception of Fury-Wallin, that have far more marketable main events than Eubank vs Ryder. In a saturated market, boxing consumers are being compelled to prioritise and this fight may be found wanting.