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The fight Terence Crawford really wants isn’t this weekend

Either way, turning a profit will require impressive pay-per-view sales, and the headwinds persist.

In late November, BLK Prime secured cable TV distribution for the event, but until then it was only available on its online platform. Either way, he will be competing for the attention of boxing fans against an ESPN card featuring Teófimo López, the former lightweight champion, in his main event.

The event’s promoters covered their Instagram accounts with posts advertising the Crawford-Avanesyan fight card, but by early December, BLK Prime’s main page had around 47,000 followers, compared to 1.5 million for Showtime Boxing, which airs the Spence fights, and 1.4 million for Top Rank, Crawford’s former promoter. BLK Prime’s boxing-specific stream had around 6,800 subscribers.

The ads focus almost exclusively on Crawford – one even features him sitting alone in front of a chessboard, as if playing against himself. Avanesyan functions less as a foil than as an afterthought. And from a marketing perspective, in this event, he is.

“Crawford is a key part of being successful,” Katkovski said. “He also understands the need to promote himself. The success of this pay-per-view is not just for us. It is for him.

Those modest social media numbers haven’t stopped BLK Prime from spending lavishly on long-term proposals. Despite Crawford’s guaranteed money for this fight, he has no long term plans to work with BLK Prime. The company has signed 33-year-old welterweight Adrien Broner, a former champion in four different divisions, to a deal he says is worth eight figures, even though Broner hasn’t won a title fight since 2015.

A top rival for a marquee signing would help.

Crawford and Spence disagree on which of them would be the real headliner in their hypothetical matchup, exactly the setup that would make the fight an easier sell. Organizers, after all, don’t just sell a contest. Personalities, backstories and rivalries add context to the in-ring action.

This setup doesn’t describe the dynamic between Crawford, a boxing star, and Avanesyan, who is accomplished but largely unknown. But that’s a hypothetical matchup between Crawford and Spence, world champions with long CVs and devoted fanbases.

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