About Those Canelo-Smith PPV Numbers
By: Sean Crose
The trustworthy L.A. Times reporter Lance Pugmire came out yesterday and announced to the world that last weekend’s WBO super welterweight title fight between Canelo Alvarez and Liam Smith did roughly 250-300 thousand pay per view buys. Needless to say, fan reaction was fierce online. Some decried the end of boxing altogether while new breeds – those fans whose interests lie in fighter salaries rather than in the fights themselves – battled furiously over things like the difference between foreign pay per views buys and American ones. Ultimately, though, it was hard for any rational person not to arrive at a pretty obvious conclusion:
Less than 300k pay per view buys is not a good thing when the supposed “new face of boxing” is involved. Sure, Canelo packed over 50 thousand fans into a stadium. Sure, he got hundreds of thousands of people to pay to see him fight a virtual unknown, both in persona and on television. No matter. The fact remains boxing’s biggest star (and Canelo is most certainly that) is bringing in far, far less pay per view business than the sport’s previous stars did not all that long ago.
Sure enough, the point that Canelo fought an opponent unfamiliar to North American fans is essentially a moot one – for it was the decision of Canelo and promoter Oscar De La Hoya to arrange a fight with an unknown commodity in the gutsy and likable Smith, rather than with someone who could have generated real interest. Just under 300 thousand pay per view buys against a virtual unknown isn’t a testament to Canelo’s drawing power so much as it’s a testament to fan’s unwillingness to be mistreated. For, in the end, Canelo-Smith wasn’t a bad matchup. It really wasn’t. The fight simply wasn’t meant for pay per view.
Moving forward, it seems Golden Boy, De La Hoya’s promotional outfit, has to face the fact that Canelo’s pay per view star will continue to dim so long as he avoids Golovkin. Fair or not, that’s simply the reality of the situation. De La Hoya may try to pull another rabbit out of his hat by having Canelo face the likes of Kell Brook or Manny Pacquiao before Golovkin, but pay per view numbers for those fights will not, in this author’s opinion, amount to blockbuster business. In other words, there’s only one way for Canelo to be the dominant pay per view star De La Hoya wants him to be – and that’s through GGG.
Of course, more time on HBO wouldn’t harm team Canelo. Just imagine the numbers if last week’s fight had been on pay cable rather than on pay per view. Fans feel like they’re being screwed at the moment because…they are. Fights like Canelo-Smith simply don’t belong on pay per view. The best way for team Canelo to earn some much needed good will at this point is to do the right thing. And it can start by not asking fans to pay for a product that isn’t worth the price.