Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) is said to be the biggest star boxing according to his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions, but there’s some debate going on that IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua might be more popular at this point. Floyd Mayweather Jr. WAS the biggest star in boxing until he retired in 2015.
Mayweather’s departure from the sport left a huge vacuum that Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya claims has been filled by Canelo. Manny Pacquiao is still fighting and his recent PPV numbers have been close to those of Canelo’s. Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley III brought in 400,000 buys on HBO PPV last year in April 2016. However, Pacquiao’s last fight against Jessie Vargas brought in just 300,000 buys on Top Rank PPV.
It’s quite possible that with the right match-making, Pacquiao could be as big as big a star in boxing as Canelo. Unfortunately, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum isn’t matching him against the right fighters to take advantage of his popularity at this late stage in his career. Canelo has a huge advantage in that Golden Boy is making better matches for him than Top Rank is for Pacquiao in my opinion.
The recent pay-per-view numbers that Canelo brought in for his fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. could go well over 1 million buys. Those numbers would top what Pacquiao has done recently with his last 2 fights.
Here are Canelo’s pay-per-view numbers during his career:
– Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo: 2,300,000 PPV buys on Showtime. Total revenue: $150,000
– Canelo vs. Alfredo Angulo: 350,000 PPV buys on Showtime. Total revenue: $20 million
– Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo: 938,000 PPV buys on HBO. Total revenue: $58 million
– Canelo vs. Amir Khan: 600,000 PPV buys on HBO. Total revenue: $30 million
– Canelo vs. Liam Smith: 300,000 PPV buys on HBO. Total revenue: $20 million
– Canelo vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr: An unofficial estimate at 1 million buys on HBO
Anthony Joshua hasn’t branched out to PPV in the U.S as of 2017, but he’s expected to become a huge PPV attraction in that country in the near future if he doesn’t get beaten soon.
Here is Joshua’s recent viewing numbers on HBO and Showtime for his fights against Wladimir Klitschko and Eric Molina that were shown in the States:
– Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko: An average of 659,000 viewers on Showtime with a peak of 687,000 viewers. Joshua-Klitschko had an average of 738,000 viewers on HBO on delay with a peak of 890,000 viewers.
– Joshua vs. Eric Molina: An average of 368,000 viewers on Showtime with a peak of 390,000 viewers.
Manny Pacquiao’s PPV numbers have been dropping steadily since after his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. The only time where they bounced back above 1 million buys was in Pacquiao’s fight with Mayweather in 2015. Some boxing fans believe that Pacquiao could still bring in a lot of PPV buys if his promoter Bob Arum would match him against popular fighters instead of just putting him in with his fighters from his Top Rank stable.
We’ll probably never find out for sure if Pacquiao can still bring in big PPV numbers because it looks as if Arum is going to finish the Filipino star’s career fighting Top Rank guys instead of the more popular fighters outside of the promotional company.
Here are Pacquiao’s PPV numbers since 2005:
– Erik Morales vs. Pacquiao: 350,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $15,700,000
– Erik Morales vs. Pacquiao II: 360,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $16,200,000
– Pacquiao vs. Oscar Larios: 120,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $4,794,000
– Pacquiao vs. Jorge Solis: 150,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $5992,000
– Pacquiao vs. Marco Antonio Barrera II: 350,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $17,532,000
– Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez II: 400,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $20, 533,000
– Pacquiao vs. David Diaz: 206,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $9, 260,000
– Oscar De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao: 1,125,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $70,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton: 850,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $50,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto: 1,250,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $70,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey: 700,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $35,300,000
– Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito: 1,150,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $64,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley: 1,340 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $75,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III: 1,400,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $71,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley: 890,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $50,600,000
– Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez IV: 1,150,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $70,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios: 475,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $30,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley II: 800,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $49,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri: 400,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $24,000,000
– Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao: 4,600,000 PPV buys on HBO and Showtime. Gross revenue: $400,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley III: 400,000 PPV buys on HBO. Gross revenue: $24,000,000
– Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas: 300,000 PPV buys on Top Rank. Gross revenue: $18,000,000
As you can see from the PPV numbers, Canelo is far behind where Pacquiao was during his best years. However, due to the less the impressive match-making that’s been done for Pacquiao over the last 4 years of his career, his PPV numbers have dropped off considerably from where they were during his best years. Canelo might not be a crossover star like Pacquiao is right now, but because of the better match-making by his promoters at Golden Boy, he’s bringing in more PPV buys at this point in his career. Pacquiao still has the potential to be a biggest star in boxing, but because of the match-making that’s being done for him right now, he’s not realizing his potential.
A win for Canelo over Gennady “GGG” Golovkin on September 16 could cement the red-haired Mexican star in as the No.1 fighter in boxing today. It would certainly help Canelo if he would star trying to speak English though. That would possibly increase his drawing power in the U.S, because the fans would be able to hear him speak and he could connect with the fans better. Thus far, Canelo has been reluctant to speak English on a regular basis like we’re seeing with Golovkin. Canelo is from nearby Mexico, and he appears to understand what’s being said to him.
If Canelo can start speaking English, he might see his popularity take off quickly because he can give interviews without needing an interpreter by his side. Canelo needs the win over Golovkin to get to the next level in popularity in the sport, and he definitely needs to start speaking English right away.