IS BOXING A DYING SPORT?
By TOM WATT on May 21 2015
As a boxing fan there are a number of things you get used to hearing or being asked by those outside of the sport, a prominent misconception is that the Sweet Science is a dying Sport or in decline and this could not be farther from the truth as recent viewing figures will show.
The obvious counter-argument to this fallacy is that the years biggest sporting event has been the super-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao that brought in over 4 million Pay-Per-View buys (Floyd recently claimed it was already above the 4.5 million mark in America alone) and is estimated to gross upwards of $500m once all the back-ends etc. are taken into account. The sporting World stopped still on May 2nd as the two 147lbs men fought for the title of the World's best Pound-4-Pound fighter. Those figures do not tell the story of a sport in need of saving and in fact eclipsed the total number of the UFC's total Pay-Per-View buys last year!
Further to the admittedly one-off spectacle that was 'The Fight of The Century" Boxing's numbers are looking very good indeed. HBO have put on a number of fantastic shows this year that have brought in some of their highest viewership for years - the Klitschko Jennings fight brought in 1.7 million viewers (the highest since 2012), Golovkin's last three dates on the network have brought in over 1.3 million views and the Canelo v Kirkland slug-fest at Minute-Maid Park in Texas not only sold 31,000 seats at the venue but also brought in a staggering 2.3 million views - the highest since Tarver V Hopkins in 2006!
On top of this we also have the undoubted success of Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions series which has seen Boxing return to terrestrial television and with it, take home the key 18-34 demographic with it. This is perhaps the most significant of all is it opens the sport up to those who wouldn't necessarily shell out for premium cable or even PPV fights and gives the fighters who appear on it unprecedented exposure. The initial success of the series looKs set to continue with a number of huge nights on the way including James DeGale vs Andre Dirrell this weekend and the clash between Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter in June.
Boxing is not dead, if anything it is a sport that is growing, reaching more people and creating more interesting story-lines. With the main PPV draw, Floyd Mayweather, destined to retire after his next fight in September the door is open for the next big thing to take his place - Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin seem the best placed to take the throne but there are plenty who would like to rock the boat. One thing is for sure though, Boxing lives to fight another day.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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