By Brendan Earley: Breaking America is feat desired across all trades whether it be Music, Film, or any other high paying and fame associated occupation you can think of. Over the years countless celebrity figures have gone over to the country of 50 states with the intention of exploiting the wealthy American fanbase. Those who manage to enjoy success in the US reap the rewards; A larger fanbase, which in turn leads to more widespread appreciation, and of course, immense financial gain. If one was to be successful in their quest to break the Capitalistic nation then the benefits would certainly be felt on their behalf.
The aura of breaking something as lucrative as the American market is something that carries over from other sectors of high fame occupations, and dips into the realm of the craft of Boxing. In the modern day where the amount of money in the pugilistic profession is at an all time astounding high with Pay-Per View fees as well as merchandise and ticket sales, it is almost essential for Boxers originating from outside the US to capitalize on the US audience if they want those mega purses. America is the metaphorical home of Boxing, and the MGM Grand is its place of worship.
Since the turn of the millennium English fighters have made a habit of becoming marketable across the ocean. Heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis took part in the 5th biggest pay-per-view fight of all time against Mike Tyson, a fight that took place at the famed MGM Grand. This fight racked up an impressive 1,950,000 PPV buys and also generated a guaranteed PPV revenue of $112,000,000. Other fighters as well as Lewis who were successes over in the US are the likes of the showman Prince Naseem Hamed and Ricky Hatton who gained major global fame taking on the era’s 2 finest combatants; Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Another Englishman who is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Lennox Lewis is Anthony Joshua. The olympic champion has gone through opponents with ease, including his most recent disposal of seasoned pro Eric Molina, and is tipped by many American writers to be the next big thing. With statements like these being made, the question must be asked; Can Anthony Joshua be a PPV star?
To answer this question we must assess the fighter he is. His impressive record of 18-0 is impressive enough on its own, but the more significant feature of his record is the KO ratio which currently stands at 100%. This is important due to the fact that KO’s can construct a major appeal to fans because they provide excitement for the viewer. An in prime Manny Pacquiao sold himself off of being exciting, as does Gennady Golovkin. Joshua can attract both hardcore Boxing fans as well as ones in the casual persuasion due to his ability to knock people out, which is key for someone who fights in a division known for its devastating finishes.
Even though Joshua is a relatively new fighter with only 18 fights in total, he has generated plenty of buzz. His April match-up with Wladimir Klitschko has placed him on a podium, with the Boxing world setting their eyes on him. He now has a chance to showcase himself on a world stage, and a win against the Russian would only certify his status as a top fighter in the weight class. The bout with Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko will undoubtedly do great live gate and PPV numbers, and even after this fight he has opportunities in the states. One of these opportunities is a potential MGM Grand headliner fight against Deontay Wilder who is arguably the number one fighter in the heavyweight division. If Joshua can beat Klitschko a fight with Wilder would sell incredible PPV numbers and would potentially reignite the weight class to the burning flame it once was.
I would say that in my honest opinion Joshua is equipped with all the tools to become a PPV star, however whether he will or not is uncertain at this moment in time. He has plenty of hurdles to overcome, one of them being a 6’6 245lb Russian who has been a dominant force in the heavyweight division. Only time will tell if he can translate his success over to an American audience, and we must wait for the future to provide us with the answers.