Spence-Crawford Won’t Draw As Much Money As Canelo-GGG 3, But It’s The Better Bout
We can support major boxing events globally without resorting to nonsensical hyperbole.
Let's start with Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin III and Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford. Both of these fights are major events, but there is a monumental difference between which fight will produce the most money and which bout will generate the most bang for your buck.
Here's an example. FightHype reported on Thursday that Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are in talks for a rematch, with the former five-division world champion seeking a nine-figure payday. Let's add Money-Mac II into the equation. Do I even have to tell you which event will produce the most dollars? A big job of a journalist—at times—is to be “Captain Obvious.” Many of you know me for my blunt, honest takes. I'm getting really sick and tired of being that guy, so I'll let you decide.
The best fight between the No. 1 and No. 2 of a division is Spence-Crawford without a doubt. Reminiscent of Mayweather-Pacquiao, this is a bout that fans have been craving for about five years. The fight will likely produce a number nowhere close to the 4.6 million pay-per-views that event produced, but it will yield a solid number.
In 4 PPV fights, Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) averages around 303,750 buys, which is not a bad number. It's good, not great, but solid. Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) checks in at around 113,000. It's not much to brag about, which is unfortunate given his talent, but that's boxing. Plenty of all-time great fighters weren't major box office attractions, including recent Hall of Fame inductee Andre Ward.
The fans had to wait a long time for this fight, but unlike other superfights, we still have two unbeaten, great world champions in their primes ready to prove once-and-for-all who is the top dog of the welterweight division.
I see Spence-Crawford as the unanimous pick for 2022 Fight of the Year, with the event generating anywhere from 630,000 to 700,000 PPV buys. And folks, that's not a bad number. If Canelo-GGG III outpaces the bout financially, which is likely, why do we care?
Boxing fans should be happy that we're getting at least one megafight in September and possibly another in the fall. There have been years when we haven't seen a single major event.
Unless you have skin in the game from a financial perspective, there isn't much reason to get involved with the drama. Let's just stick to the facts.
First and foremost, Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) and Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) have the edge in endorsements. Canelo earns around $5 million from companies like DAZN, Everlast, Louis Vuitton, Tecate, Hennessy, etc.
Golovkin has deals with Nike's Jordan Brand, Hublot, Tecate, and Chivas Regal, which bring in approximately $2.5 million.
Now you add that both Alvarez, the sport's biggest star, and Golovkin, a two-time middleweight world champion, have serious bad blood towards one another–that's the perfect recipe.
They first fought to a controversial draw in September 2017. But leading up to their originally scheduled rematch, Alvarez twice tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol and was subsequently suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The formerly polite fighters then turned into full-fledged enemies. Golovkin accused Alvarez of injecting himself with illegal substances and even went as far as to include his ex-promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, as a career-long drug cheat.
Alvarez beat Golovkin in their September 2018 rematch by majority decision, albeit a majority of ringside observers felt ‘GGG' edged Canelo in a much closer bout than the original.
Four years later, Canelo is coming off a loss to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, and Golovkin is fresh off a ninth-round TKO of Ryota Murata. Now both fighters are forced to make some sacrifices.
Alvarez, 31, is moving back down to super middleweight to defend his undisputed titles, and Golovkin is moving up in weight for the first time in his career, at the age of 40, with the chance of becoming a two-division world champion.
Their first two bouts combined for 2.4 million PPV buys, and although we can expect the trilogy to generate slightly less, it will still outperform Spence-Crawford. I can see anywhere from 960,000 to 1,000,000 buys.
But as I alluded to earlier, a ton of buys are not indicative of an exciting fight. Furthermore, a fight that isn't a box office smash can sometimes be the best battles to watch.
For instance, when we think about the Micky Ward-Arturo Gatti trilogy or Jose Luis Castillo vs. Diego Corrales, do we think about how memorable those fights were, or do we dream about becoming accounting professors? Please tell me you didn't think about the latter.
Spence-Crawford is not on the same level of financial supremacy as Canelo-GGG III, but who gives a damn!? It could be the best fight of the decade. And who knows, we might get an extra treat somewhere down the line.