Boxing In The Post Floyd Mayweather Era
By: Sean Crose
It’s said former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather is happy in retirement. Indeed, the longer the man stays out of the ring – it’s been well over a year at this point – the less of a chance it seems that he’ll go back to the fight game. Sorry, Manny. Sorry, Conor. Sorry, Floyd fans. Sorry, all of you who want to see Floyd lose. The guy may indeed be permanently retired. Frankly, that’s good news for Floyd. How good is that news, however, for the sport of boxing? Make no mistake about it, boxing was a two man show until Floyd faced arch rival Manny Pacquiao in May of 2015.
And now? Well, now it’s essentially a no man show. Sure, Canelo Alvarez is a huge draw, but he doesn’t bring in nearly the pay per view numbers Floyd used to not so long ago. A fight between the Mexican and middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin might bring in a million pay per view buys (or more), but that fight, if it is even to occur, is still some ways off. Besides, even if a Canelo-GGG bout were to exceed all financial expectations, it probably wouldn’t come close to Floyd-Manny numbers. To be sure, it’s doubtful the bout would do the numbers Canelo’s 2013 fight with Mayweather did.
So where does this leave boxing? In a PPV rut, to be sure. Canelo and Pacquiao have brought in far less than stellar buy rates lately. What’s more, Sergey Kovalev’s high end matchup with Andre Ward last month certainly doesn’t look to have broken the bank, either. Glum news indeed. And yet, at the moment at least, things are looking good for the sport, or at least for its core fan base. Not only have pound for pound powerhouses Kovalev and Ward faced off, Vasyl Lomachenko met – and easily bested – Nicholas Walters.
As for the upcoming weeks and months, there’s Carl Frampton-Leo Santa Cruz, part two, Danny Garcia-Keith Thurman and the possibility of Wladimir Klitschko getting it on with English wunderkind Anthony Joshua. Throw in Bernard Hopkins’ retirement bout, the Julian Williams-Jermall Charlo fight, a possible Golovkin fight with Daniel Jacobs and, of course, Canelo-GGG (maybe) and things certainly seem promising. As for those PPV numbers, well, it’s going to take a while for them to come back – provided, of course, that boxing remains in the pay per view business.
Stars, after all, are grown organically. And right now, there is no true star. Mayweather was never bested, as former reigning kings Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson and even Ray Leonard were. That means a new king of the sport has to essentially be formed from scratch. Such things take time, to be sure. And pointless pay per view cards aren’t going to make time go any faster.