A major blow in Sunday night’s fight featuring YouTube creator
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
landed before a single punch was thrown.
Showtime’s pay-per-view service was down for some TV and streaming customers after 8 p.m. ET Sunday before an undercard fight between
The undercard match was still available on other services, including the streaming platform Fanmio.
The outage happened before Sunday’s main event, the widely hyped Mayweather-Paul fight that commenced before midnight at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The problem persisted into the marquee matchup, leaving some viewers unable to access it through Showtime’s pay-per-view service.
Customers paid about $50 to watch Mr. Paul, a polarizing online-video impresario, square off against Mr. Mayweather, a legendary boxer who has won numerous titles and gone undefeated in his professional career.
Mr. Paul, who commands more than 23 million YouTube subscribers, initially gained popularity by posting short online videos of his lighthearted antics involving his former Ohio University classmates. He also has drawn criticism, including for posting a video in 2017 that appeared to show the body of a suicide victim. YouTube responded by pulling his channel from its Google Preferred advertising program, and Mr. Paul apologized and pledged to donate $1 million to suicide-prevention charities.
Sunday night’s fight promised to be a moneymaker for the participants. Mr. Mayweather told Sports Illustrated last week that he expected to make between $50 million and $100 million from the match, calling it “legalized bank robbery.” Participants in exhibition bouts, which don’t count toward either fighter’s professional record, are typically paid an upfront fee and given a cut of the pay-per-view proceeds.
ViacomCBS Inc.’s Showtime declined to provide financial figures for the match but said that more customers signed up Sunday than on any other single day in the service’s history, according to a spokeswoman. Ahead of the fight, Showtime offered new pay-per-view customers a free trial of the service.
Representatives for Messrs. Paul and Mayweather didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The two opponents fought for eight rounds without a knockout, with the 26-year-old Mr. Paul using his longer reach to snap off jabs at the shorter Mr. Mayweather, 44, who bobbed and weaved away. Mr. Mayweather pressed the action, backing Mr. Paul into the corners of the ring before closing the distance in a flurry of punches. But he never knocked down Mr. Paul, who used his weight advantage to tie up Mr. Mayweather whenever he got into serious trouble.
The bout drew mixed reviews from spectators, with some praising Mr. Paul for going the distance with Mr. Mayweather, regarded by many as one of the best boxers of all time. Others were less enthusiastic. Boxing champion
tweeted a “facepalm” emoji, a cartoon icon indicating disappointment or chagrin, late Sunday night.
Showtime is still working to determine what caused the outage, according to a person familiar with the matter. The streaming service is working with customers who have requested refunds and is tallying the number of viewers who signed up to watch the fight.
The Showtime spokeswoman said Sunday night that the streaming service was aware that some pay-per-view customers were having trouble accessing the event, adding that the company was working to resolve the issue.
Frustrated with their inability to watch the fight on Showtime, some viewers turned to a bootleg stream of the matchup posted on social-media website Reddit.
ViacomCBS isn’t the only media company that has experienced difficulties in streaming highly anticipated programming.
HBO Max service lagged for some customers ahead of last week’s “Mare of Easttown” season finale, and the company’s B/R Live service hiccuped before a 2018 golf match between Tiger Woods and
Write to Benjamin Mullin at [email protected]
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