Canelo Alvarez will face Erislandy Lara in a light middleweight clash on July 12 at the MGM Grand, live on Showtime pay-pre-view (PPV) in the USA. There will be no belt on the line, despite Lara holding the interim WBA belt.
There are two things in the above paragraph that represent fundamental failings with boxing. If having five champions at one weight class wasn’t enough, an association having two ‘world’ belts under one weight is, by anyone’s standards, ludicrous and bizarre. Cuban stalwart Lara holds the interim WBA strap, while multi-weight sensation Floyd Mayweather holds the ‘super’ WBA light middleweight belt.
The other issue is a non-title fight heading a pay-per-view card. Gone are the days when PPV fights were relatively rare affairs between the very best warriors in respective divisions – PPV headline spots are now allocated to certain fighters only.
A new breed of boxer has spawned, known as a ‘PPV’ fighter. Whether Alvarez fights Mayweather, Alfredo Angulo or a plumber from Stourbridge, his fights will never be free-to-air and cost around $75 for our American friends to watch.
A PPV bout was once held in high stature, the culmination of a career spent working towards the highest level. Now it seems fighters are pre-selected based on fan base and public appeal, thus being able to attract a large amount of subscribers and, ultimately, more money.
The resultant issue is an American boxing calendar packed with PPV fights, with one taking place almost every month throughout the summer. There is a clear overcrowding of a tight market.
It appears that the public over in the States are finally responding. Pacquiao-Bradley II was a good fight – a future hall-of-famer taking on an unbeaten American for the second time, following a highly controversial first bout. Unconfirmed rumours have stated that fight did less than 700,000 buys, which is considered a meagre return for the Filipino star.
Showtime and HBO should reconsider their tactics immediately. Fans already pay for their esteemed coverage, yet find themselves forking out once more for meaningless and often one-sided fights.
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