By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez brought down over a million pay per view buys when he battled Gennady Golovkin fourteen months ago. He did the same thing when he fought Golovkin a year earlier. A million pay per view buys, for those who don’t know, are hard to come by. Only a relative handful of combat sporting events do those kinds of numbers. And boxing, thanks to Floyd Mayweather, occupies the top spots for the most pay per view buys in history. Even if this weren’t the case, however, it would be hard to imagine boxing being in a bad place right now. It’s had five million-plus pay per view events in the past five years alone. And three of them have featured Canelo.
Yet here we are, late in 2019, with obituaries being written for the sport of boxing yet again. Boxing has gotten bad press since the time of bare knuckles, of course, but in our hyperactive age its easy for even paid journalists to get caught up in the moment, to tweet, as it were, before thinking. The boxing is dead crowd have been banging their drums quite loudly lately, ever since DAZN pushed back last week’s Canelo-Kovalev fight until a UFC fight card wrapped up in New York first. It was all the naysayers needed.
Of course, these individuals could look at pay per view numbers over the past five years, or realize that there’s a whole lot more boxing out there than there are UFC events. They could look at things like fighter paychecks or overall revenue or even pictures of Wembley Stadium when a big fight goes down in London. I suspect they won’t do those things though, because research isn’t exciting, and it generally doesn’t lead to click baity articles.What research does do, however, is give people insight, perspective, and a better handle on things in general.
As for Canelo, and the fact DAZN seemed less than confident about his drawing power last weekend…I think the man’s brand may be tarnished a bit, and I think DAZN suspected as much, too. I’m not the first person to make this assertion about Canelo’s brand being tarnished, but the more I think of it, the more clear it all seems. Combat sports, after all, live or die by individual brands. It’s been that way since the time of John L Sullivan. And Canelo may be seeing stock in his brand drop. Two highly controversial decisions in the Golovkin fights, PED tests, charges of stubbornness and of receiving preferential treatment…such things take their toll.
Canelo can still be the brand he was fourteen months ago. First, though, I think he has to try to drop down in weight and settle unfinished business with Golovkin next Cinco de Mayo weekend. That should appease critics and fans alike. It will also clear the air, so that his sparkling brand might actually shine once more. As for the naysayers, let them naysay. There’s good fights out there to watch.