Is Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Super Fight Boxings Death Knell?

Published: Apr 29, 2015 01:03am EDT
By Rick Rinker, Political Editor for Konsume Entertainment

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 29, 2015 @ 01:03am EDT

 

This Saturday, Boxing will stage one of the largest media spectacles in the sport’s history. The so-called “super fight” between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is estimated to draw PPV buy rates between 2.5 and 3 million households. This would break all previous PPV records.

Without question, this is one of the most anticipated fights in the past decade. It has been a long time coming for boxing fans, who have been demanding this fight for more than five years. Amid accusations of slander, lopsided contract terms and outrage from fans, the fight will finally take place as both boxers enter the twilight of their careers.

Las Vegas odds makers give the advantage to Floyd Mayweather (+210), a favorite over Manny Pacquiao (-170). However don’t let those odds fool you, these are the closest odds any Mayweather opponent has been given in the last eight years.

Despite the years it took to get this fight, the odds makers predictions and the general decline of boxing’s popularity, when tickets to the MGM Grand event went on sale they sold out in a mere 60 seconds.

These numbers are impressive, but taken into context they pale in comparison to the mass media popularity of entertainment and sports today. This years’ Super Bowl attracted a record 106 million viewers. Sochi Olympics in 2014 drew an astonishing 158 million viewers in the US alone.

All of the largest Boxing PPV events in the last 25 years only comes to a cumulative total of 63.8 million viewers. That is a stunning 80 major PPV events in the last quarter of a century that are still less this years’ solo Super Bowl event.

The sport of boxing is a shell of its former self, in stark contrast to the Boxing of yesteryear when the sport ranked among the most popular in the world. Boxing was an American obsession as far back as the period of reconstruction. It was a cornerstone sport throughout the great depression, and maintained its mass appeal well through Word War II.

Today however, the fact is that only 12 percent of Americans consider themselves boxing fans, according to research conducted by Experian Simmons. Even up-and- coming talent is difficult to find in the field of professional boxing while other sports experience a rise.

Today’s athletes gravitate toward high-profile organizations such as the NFL, NBA, MLB or the Olympics. Those still driven to boxing are gravitating to MMA training camps more and more, hoping to land at organizations like the UFC.

Boxing’s future is very much in peril as the fragmented forces at work behind the sport struggle to remain relevant, or create hype around fights that fans want to see.

Saturday’s fight is an ever rarer instance when fight fans are given a true spectacle they crave to see. This matchup should prove to be as well-hyped fight as you are likely to see for a good many years; and that is a disappointing outlook for fans of the sweet science.


 

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Rick Rinker
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