Boxing had a mediocre year in terms of pay-per-view numbers in 2016. Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan took the top spot with an estimated 600,000 buys (HBO refused to release the official numbers), but that doesn’t even come close to the 2015 record-breaker between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, which raked in a whopping $410 million from more than 4.4 million buys.
This year should be a lot better. We have some big fights scheduled and some even bigger potential bouts in the works.
Who will be the big money-makers this year? Let’s set the odds.
Odds to be the biggest PPV boxing event in 2017
Mayweather vs McGregor: 13/7
If this fight happens, it will undoubtedly be the biggest fight of 2017. It could even surpass MayPac. I can’t make its odds any shorter, though, because who knows whether it will actually happen. It’s certainly looking more realistic than it did when the idea was first floated. But it’s going to be tough for the Mayweather and McGregor camps to come to an agreement on the purse split. Both see themselves as the main attraction. And then there’s the added complication of the UFC wanting their own cut of the action. Yet, with this much money potentially on the table, I think they’ll work something out eventually.
Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez: 3/1
With the careers of Mayweather and Pacquiao coming to an end, Alvarez is probably the next PPV king. Oscar De La Hoya promised boxing fans an Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin fight in 2017, and the Mexican needs to earn back some respect from boxing fans after appearing to duck the undefeated Kazakh mauler last year. This is the fight boxing fans want to see from Alvarez, and he risks permanently damaging his reputation if he continues to avoid GGG.
Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko: 17/3
The scheduled bout for AJ’s IBF heavyweight title and the vacant WBA title will hopefully breathe new life into the heavyweight division. With Tyson Fury out of the picture, it’s up to these two to revive the dormant division. This must-see fight takes place on April 29 and should garner a pretty big audience, especially internationally.
Canelo Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr: 19/1
The two biggest names in Mexican boxing will face off on May 6 for a Cinco de Mayo fight. If nothing else, the PPV buys from Mexico alone guarantee that this fight will be a money-maker. The match-up itself may not have too much significance in boxing, but fans will flock for the spectacle.
Manny Pacquiao vs Amir Khan: 19/1
Boxing fans requested a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, and that’s exactly what they’re going to get. The two camps have agreed to an April fight. But Pacquiao is well past his prime and Amir Khan doesn’t have quite the same draw as other big names.
Photo credit:R.J Cohen [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)].