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Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith = Tough sell on HBO PPV

Canelo Alvarez

By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions have effectively steered their franchise fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) around a very dangerous obstacle in Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and now have the 25-year-old Mexican fighter in safer waters in challenging Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) on September 17 on HBO pay-per-view. Golden Boy hasn’t listed the price for the Canelo-Smith fight, but you’d have to assume that it will go for $60 to $70.

There’s got to be some kind of break even mark in terms of PPV buys. My guess it will be fairly high in the $300,000 range due to Canelo getting big money for each fight. The thing is, I don’t know if Canelo-Smith is a fight that can even bring in 100,000 buys. Golden Boy will need to really market it like crazy to get fans to want to pay for this. They might need to consider bringing Smith over to do a tour of the major cities in the U.S, as well as the UK. There will surely be some kind of HBO 24/7 Canelo/Smith series to try and attract some interest.

Canelo will supposedly be facing Golovkin in the fall of 2017. There are no guarantees the fight will happen. It’s possible that by next year, Canelo and Golden Boy will push the fight ahead even further. Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler don’t have the big money options available for them to tell Canelo to get lost. If Golovkin had a huge built in fan base like Canelo does in the U.S, then he could put Canelo on permanent ignore for the remainder of his career while fighting his over-matched opponents while making a bundle each time he fights. Golovkin doesn’t have it like that. One of the reasons why Golden Boy wanted to move the Canelo-Golovkin fight to 2017 was to give Canelo more time to build up to 160lbs so that he can fight Golovkin If that’s the case, then why is Canelo fighting at 154 against Liam Smith? He’s going backwards in weight from 155 to 154. If Canelo is really looking to build his weight up to 160, then why the fight at 154?

The only thing he can do is just take it each time Canelo and Golden Boy choose to bypass him, because when they do eventually agree to the fight, he’ll make a bundle. The problem is that by the time they do give Golovkin the fight, he may very well be over-the-hill. Golovkin is 34 now, and will be 35 next if Golden Boy chooses to make the fight at that time. You can’t assume that they’ll make the fight because they were supposed to make it in 2016, and they chose not to do it.

Golovkin and Canelo will fight two or three times before they’re to face each other in the fall of 2017 if Golden Boy doesn’t kick the fight to 2018. If that happens, it’ll be a sad and wretched joke. If Golovkin is still willing to put up with the continued delays at that point, then you’d have to feel sorry for him.

“I am delighted to get the opportunity to defend my world title against the biggest name in world boxing and to headline in the U.S., which is a dream I have had since I started in the sport of boxing,” Smith said. “This fight allows me to make my name in the U.S. and show just how good I am and this is the big stage that will enable me to do that. I am confident of winning this fight and returning to the great city of Liverpool with my belt still around my waist.”

The fight is said to possibly taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The one big problem that Golden Boy has in front of them is how are they going to sell the fight between Canelo and the little known 27-year-old Smith on HBO PPV. Smith is a complete unknown to the American public, and he’s not even a star in his own country. This seems like a real bungling move by Golden Boy in making this match. By them choosing to put Canelo in another safe mismatch like the ones he had against Amir Khan and James Kirkland. They’ve put him in a fight that is doomed for low PPV numbers. The smart thing for Golden Boy to do would have been to either find a better opponent than Smith or make it a non-pay-per-view fight so that it can bring in higher ratings from people watching it on regular HBO.

Canelo vs. Smith will be taking place on the Mexican Independence Day weekend on September 17. This is a weekend that is traditionally a PPV weekend, so it’s understandable that Canelo’s fight is on PPV. What’s not understandable is that such a poorly known opponent was selected for him. Golden Boy would likely argue that Smith will make it exciting because he’s a talented fighter, but it’s still a mismatch.

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