2016: The year in boxing

January 7, 2017

2016 seemed to be a low-key year in the world of boxing.  While 2015 saw some major moves from Al Haymon and his Premier Boxing Champions, the endeavor has fizzled.  The same could be said for the year of boxing on PPV as there were no major events that drew PPV buy rates the likes of Mayweather or Pacquiao in their primes.

We saw less of Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions on the multiple channels it was on the year prior.  PBC has blown through a lot of capital since it launched in March 2015.  A lawsuit filed by Golden Boy, one of two filed by rival organizations, is set to go to trial in March 2017.

Currently, Haymon and the entities sued by Golden Boy have filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the case prior to the trial date.  No decision has been made as of this date.

The other antitrust lawsuit against Haymon, filed by Top Rank Boxing was settled by the parties this past spring.

Both of the lawsuits claimed that Haymon’s PBC business model sought to create an illegal tie-in through Haymon’s signing of fighters as their management and then promoting them.  They also argued that PBC foreclosed the fighter market and possibly promoting the fighter since fighters under Haymon would allegedly not deal with other promoters.  It also tied-out promotions that sought to be on television since Haymon struck exclusive deals with multiple networks.

Chris Algieri fought this past April but expressed concern with how much he would be paid as his promoter did not reveal how much of a percentage he would receive from his fight against Errol Spence, Jr.  The situation brought up an issue with the Ali Act.

Speaking of Spence, after defeating Algieri his next fight in August drew an impressive 4.8 million viewers on NBC with a peak of 6.34 million.  The PBC on NBC fight aired after the U.S. Olympic gold medal basketball game between the U.S. and Serbia.  The one-hour show was sandwiched between Olympic network coverage which may have attributed to the huge viewership which seems to be an anomaly when compared to past PBC on NBC telecasts.

Deontay Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella are embroiled in a lawsuit with Alexander Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing, LLC over a failed fight that was set to happen in Russia in May.  Povetkin tested positive for Meldonium.  However, he claimed that only small traces were found in his sample and his use occurred prior to January 1, 2016 when WADA banned the substance.  The WBC reinstated Povetkin because the substance in his system was below the threshold accepted by WADA although it claimed to require Povetkin to submit to drug tests.  The parties are embroiled in a discovery fight but the case is set to go to trial this spring.

Notably, Povetkin tested positive after he was reinstated and scheduled to face Bermane Stiverne for the WBC heavyweight title.  He stated that he wanted his “B” sample tested on Thursday at the UCLA Laboratory in Los Angeles.

DiBella is one of the boxing promoters that protested the new law legalizing MMA in New York, but requiring promoters to provide $1 million worth of coverage per athlete in the event of a life-threatening brain injury.  He pulled the rest of his shows scheduled for New York in late October as a form of protest and as a matter of practicality. Jo DeGuardia of Star Boxing along with DiBella submitted a public comment regarding the regulations.

A survey of all of the fights on HBO, including PPV replays, drew an average of 780,000 subscribers of the premium channel.  The highest-rated fight this year was GGG versus Dominic Wade on April 23rd which drew over 1.3 million viewers.  Only two other fights reached past 1 million viewers: Sergey Kovalev versus Jean Pascal which drew 1.179 million viewers in January and Andre Ward versus Sullivan Barrera which drew 1.064 million viewers.

Showtime had less fights this year and drew an average of 363,000 viewers.

In May, a year after the “Fight of the Century” between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. resulted in a lawsuit as Showtime sued Top Rank citing indemnification and breach of contract related to lawsuits filed by third parties against Showtime and Top Rank related to Pacquiao’s claim that he fought with an injury against Mayweather.  Showtime sought to invoke the indemnification language in the contract.  However, Top Rank, as you might expect, disagreed with the reading of the contract.  In fact, they intended to bring a motion to dismiss Showtime’s lawsuit.

But, in September, Showtime voluntarily dismissed its case.

Finally, it was a rather disappointing 2016 for boxing PPVs.

Boxing PPVs 2016

April 9, 2016 – Pacquiao-Bradley III: ~400K PPV buys

May 7, 2016 – Alvarez-Khan: ~450K-600K PPV buys

July 23, 2016 – Crawford-Postol: 50K-60K PPV buys

September 17, 2016 – Alvarez-Smith: >~300K PPV buys

November 5, 2016 – Pacquiao-Vargas: ~300K PPV buys

November 19, 2016 – Ward-Kovalev – 160,000 PPV buys

An unfair comparison, except for this web site I suppose, but if you consider the UFC had its most successful year on PPV with 5 events going over 1 million, boxing had a dismal year.  Canelo Alvarez, the predicted heir to boxing PPV, did not draw as expected and Manny Pacquiao is losing his appeal in the U.S.  Note that HBO passed on distributing his November fight in order to promote a fight that drew just 160,000 on PPV.  Unless GGG-Canelo happens in the fall of 2017, there are not any marquee PPV fights coming up in boxing this year.

21 Responses to “2016: The year in boxing”

  1. d on January 8th, 2017 12:53 AM

    Oscar De La Hoya sums it all up in one statement: “This is the worst year in boxing history”.

    Most of those ppv numbers are inflated too. There have been numerous credible reports challenging those. They are even worse than they look. The Khan-Alvarez fight never even broke 400k buys, nor did Pac-Bradley. Pac-Vargas barely broke 200k as did Canelo and Smith.

  2. Fight Fan on January 8th, 2017 6:52 AM

    Well said d, the expert on everything lol. Meanwhile boxing will continue to fill international stadiums as well as hold the highest selling ppv records ever. The ufc will rely on 1 star.

  3. d on January 8th, 2017 8:22 AM

    FF, you are wrong ever time you post something you claim is fact. Everything you say is laughable.

    Haha. “boxing will continue to fill international stadiums”. He knows they can’t even sell out high school gyms in the US!! HAHAHAHA!!! And internationally they aren’t doing much either.

    You guys were saying the same garbage in 2014 when GSP/Silva were semi retired. They are done, they won’t be able to replace them, etc. Then we had the two biggest stars they’ve ever had replace those two. The difference between this and boxing is that boxing fans are dwindling. The youth would much rather watch mma and the UFC has dominated the coveted demo. Boxing is done in the US. Tumbleweed. Hahahaha!!

  4. Etops on January 8th, 2017 9:32 AM

    Boxing can sell PPVs but fighters constantly ducking each other. I guess we probably won’t see GGG vs canelo until 2019 or 2020 at this rate.

    Promoters hate international events because the money is in Vegas.

  5. Cutch on January 8th, 2017 2:35 PM

    Eddie Hearn of Matchroom is talking about getting into MMA promoting, he’s the promoter of all the UK Boxing PPVs, he credits Conor McGregor for getting him thinking about it.

  6. lol on January 8th, 2017 3:40 PM

    @ Fight Fan That’s true, the UFC’s is market is almost exclusively in the Suburban U.S. whereas Boxing’s market is all over the world including the U.S.. Just that fact is enought to end the argument on which sport is bigger, or more popular, or however you want to say it. People keep saying that May/Pac was bad for the sport. But when everyone saw how much money Mayweather and Pacquiao made, it turned a lot of people on to the sport. That’s mainstream sport money.

  7. jf on January 8th, 2017 3:47 PM

    @ lol

    Yeah, moron, boxing is much more popular and that’s why their PPV’s sold 50k to 500k. Brilliant analysis.

  8. d on January 8th, 2017 6:40 PM

    Even though that is insanely false, if that were true, that speaks volumes about how terrible boxing is and what little room they have to expand and how amazing mma is doing with such a small market while there is so much room to expand.

    You also are so delusional when it comes to which sport there is more money in and popular. It isn’t even close. Boxing is nearly dead in the US and isn’t very big compared to other sports abroad. There is no big money in it anymore and it literally has hit an all time low in terms of overall interest.

  9. fight fan on January 8th, 2017 7:27 PM

    D if that was the case than it wouldn’t have sold 4 Mil PPV’s for one fight just 2 years ago in the states lmao.

    The only other thing that ufc has related to that 4 million is the 4 BILLION that they have to pay back. Even Joe Rogan says they are in trouble paying that back with only 1 PPV star. They live and die by the PPV, unlike boxing.

  10. lol on January 8th, 2017 7:50 PM

    @ Fight Fan, Really, some people need to stop acting as if PPV is the only thing that generates money. That’s not the only source of revenue. Lol, and what’s funny is that when Joshua vs Klitschko smashes PPV numbers in the U.K., these people will say that overseas PPV doesn’t matter, only American PPV makes any money, lol.

  11. saldathief on January 8th, 2017 11:10 PM

    Boxing has a shit year oh noooo lol whats that a hand full of bad years in what 200 years of boxing? UFC had a great year bahahaha both their biggest starts LOST and one is DONE DONE DONE! at least we know boxing has a future what does the UFC have? I hear a trans gender star in the making Dana is wetting his pants already. and Midget fights coming soon.

  12. boxing fans are idiots on January 9th, 2017 12:19 PM

    1. If boxing is such a big international thing, why weren’t there any big international ppv events this past year? I can’t think of a single one.

    2. It gets kind of old hearing low IQ retard boxing fans keep chanting that the UFC is going to collapse because of some of their stars leaving. How many years we going to keep hearing this? We heard it when Royce left. We heard it when Randy and Chuck left. We heard it when Matt Hughes left. Then GSP. You know what’s going to happen when Ronda leaves? Not much. The show will go on and someone else will fill her spot. Ronda only fought one time in 2016, and the year was a record breaking one.

    3. The UFC hardly lives and dies by the ppv. Their TV rights are coming up for renegotiation in the next year or two, and it’s rumored that their next contract might be 2x to 3x the present one. IF that happens, the UFC’s main engine of growth will then be TV contracts.

  13. Cutch on January 9th, 2017 2:19 PM

    I guess the people talking about Boxing internationally missed my post about Eddie Hearn & Matchroom promoter on Sky Sports UK/Sky Box Office talking about getting into MMA promotion and citing Conor McGregor as the reason why.

  14. Joey Vagas on January 9th, 2017 4:34 PM

    Very slow year. But battles have been fought and continue to wage on in the direction of the Heavyweight Division taking shape. The strongest winds blowing right now is in the heavier weight classes. Think middleweight battles of the 80’s and Heavyweight battles of the 90’s. Also think Frank Sinatra “it was a very good year” for things to come. It gets better..

  15. saldathief on January 9th, 2017 5:59 PM

    Please let us know when Top Rank, Golden Boy, Floyd Money, and any main boxing promoters not trying to hustle investors so they can bang hookers and do coke, start an MMA promotion. Also never hard of any Matchroom fighters go figure.

  16. d on January 10th, 2017 1:01 AM

    FF, the UFC has done 5 ppvs which have exceeded 1m ppv buys in the past 12 months, not to mention all of their smaller ppvs that blow any boxing ppv out of the water in the past year. That combined with the fact that THEY have multiple revenue streams like major tv contracts, unlike boxing promoters, proves how delusional you are.

    You need to come back down to reality.

  17. d on January 10th, 2017 1:03 AM

    Also, that 1 ppv star draws more than the entire sport of boxing has over the past year. It isn’t even close. How many ppv stars does boxing have? Better yet, how many tv stars do they have? Better yet, how many US stars or any stars do they have? De la Hoya put it best.

  18. d on January 10th, 2017 1:05 AM

    LOL, boxing revenue across the board is in the gutter. MMA promotions bring in bigger revenue streams outside of ppv. It isn’t even comparable. Bellator has a bigger tv deal than Top Rank does with HBO or GB has with Showtime. What does that tell you?

  19. ETOPS on January 10th, 2017 6:22 AM

    They are just arguing for the sake of arguing. Even the top people in boxing like De La Hoya,Kellerman,Lampley said 2016 was a bad year for boxing and 2017 not looking good either.

    Just for the record, everything sells in the UK nowadays. UFC 204 sold out in 5 minutes and the show started at like 1am in the morning. And you know why it started late? To accommodate US viewers because that’s where the money is.

  20. Diego on January 11th, 2017 7:44 AM
  21. Wil on January 12th, 2017 4:28 AM

    Down year in boxing, no doubt about it, that’s what happens when big fights are not made. Boxing fans are not “brand fans”, they want to see big fights, they want to have fight parties. The biggest fights as in tickets sold and money made seem to have been in Europe again, and to a lesser degree in South America where a female championship fight filled a stadium of 20,000.

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