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Canelo vs. Smith seen by 18M viewers in Mexico

Canelo Alvarez

By Dan Ambrose: While Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s fight against WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith was said to have brought in a low number of pay-per-view buys on HBO on September 17, the fight was seen by 18 million viewers in Mexico on free television on Azteca 7, according to ESPN. Having the Canelo-Smith fight televised on the Mexican Independence day holiday weekend likely help increase the viewers for the event.

It wasn’t much of a fight despite the claims by Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya about Smith being the best fighter in the 154lb division. Smith didn’t look like the best in taking a beating from a one-handed Canelo until the fight was halted in the 9th after Smith was knocked down by a left to the body.

With Canelo bringing in 18 million viewers in Mexico, the question is how can he and Golden Boy use this to help get a much bigger cut of the financial pie for the Super Bowl of boxing event against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin? You can imagine that Golden Boy will bring up the 18 million figure when they sit down at the negotiation table with Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler in 2017 to put together a fight in September of the year.

You can argue that it shouldn’t matter how many viewers Canelo is bringing in for his television broadcast in Mexico. If the money is going to be made from the Canelo-Golovkin fight is in the United States, then the only thing that is relevant is how much will Golovkin be bringing to the table when it comes to extra pay-per-view buys and ticket sales for the fight. Canelo’s recent fight against Liam Smith is said to be at 250,000 to 310,000 buys on HBO. That’s about the average for Canelo when he’s not fighting a bigger name like Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Amir Khan.

If all Canelo is bringing in is 300,000, then you would have to conclude that whatever extra that comes in will be due to Golovkin. So if Canelo is averaging 300K in PPV buys, then the extra 700,000 buys would be directly due to Golovkin. Without Golovkin, Canelo is probably back to 300,000 once again in fighting someone like Billy Joe Saunders next.

It’s doubtful that too many U.S boxing fans will be eager to pay to see Canelo fight the little known British fighter Saunders. He’s well-known to the hardcore boxing fans in the U.S, and known by the fans in the UK, but he’s not a recognizable name in the U.S. He’s also not even a star in the UK. That’s who Canelo will probably fight next. So we’re looking at another fight with approximately 300,000 buys. That’s not going to help Canelo get a bigger slice of the pie for a fight against Golovkin.

Unless Canelo and Golden Boy get monetize his fights in Mexican, I don’t think it really matters how many of his fans are watching his fights in his home country. It’s an empty statistic unless there’s money that can be made from the 18 million that are watching Canelo’s fights in Mexican.

Golden Boy is offering Golovkin a $10 million flat fee and a unstated percentage of the pay-per- view for the fight with Canelo. If the fight brings in $400 million, then Golovkin gets $10 million, and Canelo and Golden Boy will get the lion’s share of the loot.

It would be interesting to know what kind of percentage Golovkin would be getting from the pay-per-view. It would be terrible if it’s only 10%, because that means that all the extra money that Golovkin helps bring in for the fight due to his name, he wouldn’t be able to share in. It wouldn’t be so bad if Golovkin were young, and he 10 good years left in his career. He could take the short end of the stick in terms of money for the Canelo fight, and then eventually work his way up to becoming a big PPV attraction in his own right.

Unfortunately, Golovkin isn’t young enough to take small paydays now in order to get bigger ones later on. He needs to be getting near parity now for him to make his money, especially when its his name that is making the eventual successful.

Loeffler want’s a percentage deal for Golovkin in the Canelo fight, but Golden Boy is thus far resistant to that idea. Unless they can come to an agreement on this sticking point, we may not see the two fighters face each other. It hurts Canelo not to make the fight with Golovkin while he’s still at the top of his game, because the longer the fight doesn’t get made, the more boxing fans that will likely blame Canelo and Golden Boy for it not happening.

It also hurts Canelo because he’s not growing in popularity. His numbers show that his popularity is decreasing. One reason for that is because Golden Boy is showing one mismatch after another involving Canelo down the throats of the boxing public instead of matching him against quality opponents. It’s one thing to have a terrible mismatch, but when you require that the boxing fans purchase the mismatch on PPV, then it’s really bad.

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