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Canelo-Smith does 300K buys, De La Hoya pleased

Canelo Alvarez Canelo vs. Smith Liam Smith


By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya is saying that his flagship fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez brought in slightly less than 300,000 pay-per-view buys on HBO for his fight last month against little known World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion Liam Smith on September 17 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

De La Hoya is quite pleased with the numbers despite the fact that it’s a considerable drop off for the 26-year-old red-headed star from his previous fight against Amir Khan last May, which brought in 450,000 buys on HBO PPV.

It was a calculated decision by De La Hoya to put Canelo in with Liam Smith instead of a good fighter, as Smith wasn’t a well known guy to the casual boxing fans in the United States, and he wasn’t considered to be the best or even the third best fighter in the 154lb division by many fans. De La Hoya sold the Canelo-Smith fight by telling fans that Liam Smith was the best fighter in the 154lb division, but obviously the fans didn’t pay attention to that, as they failed to purchase the fight in large numbers. De La Hoya is pleased though with the 300,000 buys the Canelo-Smith fight generated, because it also brought in 52,000 fans that showed up to see the fight live at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. De La Hoya isn’t saying how many of those fans were ones that were given free tickets to get in. The fight generated $20 million, according to Dan Rafael.

Here are Canelo’s pay-per-view bouts during his career:

Canelo vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. – 2,200,000 buys – Showtime

Canelo vs. Alfredo Angulo – 350,000 buys – Showtime

Canelo vs. Erislandy Lara – 325,000 buys – Showtime

Canelo vs. Amir Khan – 600,000 buys – HBO

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Canelo vs. Miguel Cotto – 900,000 buys – HBO

Canelo vs. Liam Smith – 300,000 buys – HBO

“We’re going to wind up doing close to 300,000 homes, which is great when you combine that with almost 52,000 fans we had in the crowd,” De La Hoya said to espn.com. “We’re very happy, extremely happy with the numbers. Obviously, nobody had ever heard of Liam Smith, and when you have to try and sell a pay-per-view fight with somebody that nobody has ever heard of, you have a tough job ahead of you. They [the fans] were treated to a special fight. When it was all said and done it was a terrific fight, a lot of action.”

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It was a mismatch; De La Hoya forgot to say. Smith looked flawed, mediocre and not like a championship level fighter. He just looked like a guy that won a paper title by beating fringe contender John Thompson. It was embarrassing that De La Hoya and Golden Boy selected Liam Smith as an opponent for Canelo to fight on HBO PPV rather than one of the really tough junior middleweights like the Charlo brothers, Demetrius Andrade or Erislandy Lara. Those guys would have been tough outs for Canelo.

The 26-year-old Canelo already has unfinished business with Lara, who he beat by a very, very questionable 12 round split decision in 2014. A lot of boxing fans think Canelo lost that fight to Lara, as does this writer. De La Hoya response to Lara after the fight was to tell him to get in the back of the line of fighters waiting for a shot against Canelo.

It may have sounded like a witty thing for De La Hoya to say at the time, but it was De La Hoya who lost credibility with him winning a decision in a fight that he appeared to lose. When you walk away from a fight without proving that you’re the better fighter, it hurts your career. That’s why De La Hoya blew it by not bringing Canelo back to face Lara again so that he could show the boxing fans that it was just an off night for him against Lara the first time around.

“I’m sure when Canelo decides to fight at 160 next year there will be plenty of name fighters and opponents who will bring excitement and great fights and the fans will acknowledge that and, once again, he will do even bigger pay-per-view numbers,” De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya sys that there will be plenty of big names for Canelo to fight once he moves up to middleweight in 2017. I think De La Hoya is kidding the boxing public in saying there are a lot of fighters at 160 that will bring in bigger pay per view numbers. There are at least two very good fighters in the middleweight division in Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, but it remains to be seen whether Golden Boy will let Canelo fight either of them. The rest of the guys are pretty much unknowns. Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders are two of the better known fighters among the pack, but they’re not huge stars.

Canelo won’t be able to get a lot of PPV buys fighting either of them. The only fighter that will bring in a lot of buys for Canelo in the 160lb division is Golovkin. De La Hoya says that fight will take place in September 2017, but there remains a lot of doubt whether the fight will get made next year or even the year after. What makes it doubtful is the eight figure flat fee that Golden Boy offered Golovkin for the Canelo fight.

The offer was not accepted by Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler. He wants a percentage deal for Golovkin. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen with Golden Boy. Golovkin would be crazy to agree to $10 million for a fight that could make well over $100 million, perhaps even $200 million. Golovkin would walk away with a percentage of the $10 million, while Canelo and Golden Boy would make out in a huge way. It’s unclear how much of a percentage cut Loeffler wants for Golovkin. You would have to think that a 60-40 or 55-45 split of the revenue would be fair for Golovkin to get. Anything less than that, he would be getting little credit for the high number of boxing fans that he helps bring in for the fight with his big name.

For Canelo to keep getting big pay-per-view buys, he’s going to need to fight Golovkin, and beat him. Canelo needs Golovkin’s scalp to become a crossover attraction in the U.S. If Golden Boy has Canelo wait Golovkin out until he’s an older fighter before they make the fight, it’s going to stunt his own career. It’s better to be popular early rather than waiting five years or so for Golovkin to get old enough to beat. Who’s to say that Canelo will age well himself. In five years, Canelo might age worst than Golovkin, and still lose to him. You can make a strong argument that Canelo would lose to guys like Daniel Jacobs, Jermall Charlo, Lara and Demetrius Andrade. How does Golden Boy keep Canelo from getting beaten before he faces Golovkin? They’ve got to make the fight now. At least there’s a chance, such as it is, that Canelo might get lucky and beat Golovkin.

What Canelo has working against him is his lack of stamina, and Golovkin’s punching power. Golovkin will make sure that there isn’t controversial decision like we’ve seen with Canelo’s fights against Lara and Austin Trout. Golovkin won’t let the fight go to the judges. So if Canelo is going to beat Golovkin, he’s going to need to knock him out, because it’s not going to go to the scorecards. Canelo won’t win like that.

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