Last weekend, Canelo Alvarez became a champion again when he toppled formerly undefeated Brit, Liam Smith, in the 9th round with a vicious body shot.
Smith keeled over and rolled, prompting the referee to wave his hands signaling the finale of the planned 12-rounder and the transference of the WBO super welterweight belt to Alvarez.
However successful Alvarez proved he is in front of the crowd at the AT&T Center in Dallas, the fight proved predictable and lackluster to say the least. It is a culmination of a summer of busts that have promised pay-per-view fireworks and delivered wins Ms. Cleo (RIP) could have doled out for a cheaper price point.
So when will the premium cable boxing world wake up to the reality that they are delivering duds?
We watched Gennady Golovkin defeat the smaller Kell Brook earlier this month in London on HBO followed by last weekend’s PPV with Alvarez. The two were supposed to mandatorily meet and then Alvarez vacated the belt, avoiding the showdown via boxing promoter politics. Needless to say, the fan backlash erupted, bashing both the fighter and Golden Boy Promotions for "ducking" the fight everyone wanted to (rightfully) see.
This super fight not materializing, whether that was because of Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, and Tom Loeffler, GGG’s promoter, not agreeing to terms or for some other reason, the ultimate loser is the boxing fan.
When Alvarez faced Amir Khan earlier this summer, although Khan is to be lauded for his bravery and effort, many claiming that he had won more than two rounds before the inevitable conclusion, it was clear he was overpowered when he hit the canvas in the boxing meme of the year (some say it could even top the Pacquiao meme). This fight predictability is the true core of the problem, one that seems to consistently plague the sport.
There was a time when boxers fought each other in their prime and at the right time, to the delight of fans worldwide. But this practice has eroded year after year while the price to see the stars of the ring has increased.
Premier Boxing Champions has leveled the playing field with its free network TV offerings, and actually delivered exciting fights like Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter and Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton. Although they fail with predictable bouts like the rematch between Danny Jacobs and Sergio Mora, where Jacobs succeeded in scoring a second knockout victory, at least fans get to choose boxing again without the price tag looming in the distance for the mismatch.
Anyone who steps in the ring deserves all the credit in the world for only true warriors risk it all for another ‘W.’ However, boxing needs to stop giving us one key fight a year then sprinkling the terrain with excuses and ugly weight class jumps, which smell of pandering, in order keep people interested.
With Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev on the horizon in November, we can all get excited for finally seeing a true match-up of unbeatens as Ward’s rise to light heavyweight and pursuit of the Bernard Hopkins weight class transcendence is amazing. As his first pay-per-view fight, this has the potential to become the last great fight of the year.
But until then, we have to suffer through underwhelming PPV bouts, the return of Manny Pacquiao vs. Jesse Vargas and other uninspiring offerings as boxing flounders in its debate over creating great fights vs fighting the pockets of fans.