After the debacle on Saturday night that was passed off by HBO and Golden Boy Promotions as a prizefight, many were left scratching their heads. Cinco de Mayo is a prime weekend for boxing and a beacon for the world’s attention to pugilism. That’s why on paper, the fight between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. seemed like a perfect pairing.
But in reality, the Chavez, Jr. that sent his father’s loyal fan base into perpetual lamentation returned on Saturday. Canelo executed a boxing clinic on Chavez, who seemed to want no part of the exchange. Chavez was so outclassed that it is a surprise that the man known as “Cinnamon” didn’t finish him.
With the new “freemium” model enacted by Premier Boxing Champions, the world is getting very comfortable with not paying for high-level fights. That is why rare fighters like Canelo, who can actually still sell a pay-per-view, shouldn’t be wasted on mediocrity, especially on key weekends for the combat sporting industry.
It begs the question: was the battle for Mexican supremacy really against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.? Although Chavez, Jr., went 46-0-1 before losing his first match to Sergio Martinez, he also tested positive for cannabis and was fined $900,000 for that fight. Then came Andrzej Fonfara, who gave Chavez the same problems as Canelo. In that pairing Chavez quit on his stool after nine rounds.
The real battle for Mexican supremacy is not between a fellow countryman, but with his Kazakhstan doppelganger in Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. It was curious, to say the least, that immediately following Canelo’s dominant win against Chavez, GGG was brought into the ring for the announcement of their September 16th fight.
It begs the question why didn’t Golden Boy hold out for GGG?
Of course, without knowing the details of his contract, it can be assumed that Canelo needed a first half of the year fight. Shane Moseley, James Kirkland and Amir Khan all felt the wrath of a Cinco de Mayo Canelo as well, so maintaining his victim streak during Mexican Independence weekend was no doubt tantamount to the decision.
But as we have seen with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, over-hyping a one-sided fight will always have grave repercussions on the returns from a loyal Pay Per View audience.
Golovkin is a bona fide star. But no matter how exceptional he is, the fact remains that he is a PPV bust. His last bout against Danny Jacobs, although an outstanding fight for attrition, compounded the low numbers from his first PPV fight against David Lemieux.
The boxing world knows he is the real deal, but he has yet to break out like Canelo has. This fight is a necessity for him if he ever wants to build a real PPV base.
Also, the fight is key for Canelo, who as of late is beginning to bore audiences with his domination. Since getting schooled by Floyd Mayweather back in 2013, no one else has been able to hold a candle to his light.
The only true fight left for him is Golovkin. The fact that Oscar De La Hoya clairvoyantly locked it in ahead of the Chavez bout is a testament not only to boxing’s machinations, but also its willingness to proudly use racial ties to bolster fluff fights.
Although the world instantly forgave the promoter that trespass when the bait and switch was accomplished with the Golovkin announcement, boxing must be very careful when traveling down these slippery slopes.
The fans want the best fighting the best. And now, for certain weight classes, they don’t even have to pay for it. Let’s not destroy the PPV system any further with high-level switcheroos.