Boxing Fans Have A Lot to Look Forward to this Summer

With the rise of MMA over the recent years and the dreaded Mayweather-Pacquiao super flop in 2015, there has been a shift in the combat sports world. Boxing was easily the premier combat sport in America and around the world for decades. When MMA was still in its infancy period the biggest stars in boxing where also among the biggest stars in the world. The past decade or so has seen a shift, boxing slipping a little and MMA (due to the UFC) gaining more and more mainstream media attention.

So as a result, boxing has been described today as “an old man sport” and MMA is the 21st-century king of combat sports. That may have been true two years ago and even last year, but boxing has had a very strong 2017 so far and the summer looks even more promising.

Of course, the biggest fight of the year will be Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor on August 26th in Las Vegas. The biggest star in boxing going toe to toe with the biggest star in MMA will produce millions of pay per view buys, despite major criticism regarding the validity of the fight.

The second biggest fight, and easily the best, will come three weeks later as Gennady Golovkin will square off against Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This is the super fight that every boxing fan wanted to see and despite some fear that a deal wouldn’t get done this year, the two sides officially came to an agreement in the spring and boxing fans are counting down the days to September 16th.

Manny Pacquiao will be competing in a fight on ESPN tomorrow night in fact against Jeff Horn. The fight has not captured the attention of every boxing fan, but being that the fight will be on free television a nice rating should be expected from ESPN. The lack of star power from Horn is a major reason why the fight has not received a ton of media attention, as well as the once huge box office draw in Manny Pacquiao has died down a bit after his fight with Mayweather.

ESPN will not be done after the Pacquiao-Horn matchup because it was announced on Thursday that ESPN will be televising Terence Crawford’s and Vasyl Lomachenko’s next bouts in August for free. This is huge news for a lot of boxing fans who do not have access to HBO or Showtime. Hopefully for both Crawford and Lomachenko the exposure they get from being on free television will grow their popularity, as well as boxing’s. Both fighters are two of the best the sport has to offer today and they both are deserving of the spotlight.

Lomachenko will be defending his 130-pound belt on August 5th against Miguel Marriaga at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Crawford will fight two weeks later on August 19th against fellow champion Julius Indongo. Both men have two belts in the 140-pound division so the winner of this fight will crown an undisputed champion at that weight, something that boxing has sorely lacked over the past few years.

HBO is the biggest loser in all of this because they were the television home for both Lomachenko and Crawford. Top Rank promotions, who struck a deal with ESPN to televise the Pacquiao-Horn fight, also came to an agreement to televise their other major stars, shutting out HBO.

“ESPN is thrilled to bring these two new title fights to fans,” Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and scheduling, said Thursday. “There is a lot of buzz around boxing right now, and much of it centers around these two great champions — Lomachenko and Crawford. We are excited and proud to showcase these two great events on all of our platforms.”

Top Rank president Todd duBoef was also excited about the new TV deal.

“Pound for pound, no one can match the talent of Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford,” duBoef said. “They drew the best ratings on premium cable this year, and now everyone will be able to see them when they defend their world titles in all-action fights in August, live on ESPN.”

Here are some other good matchups that boxing fans can look forward to this summer…

Adrien Broner vs. Mikey Garcia on July 29

Carl Frampton vs. Andres Gutierrez on July 29

Miguel Cotto vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez on September 9

Featured Image via Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Sports have been a part of my life for years. First playing and watching, now just watching. I stopped playing after I discovered that you actually have to have real talent in order to play sports at a high level. Anyways, my favorites are Hockey, Baseball, Football, MMA, and Boxing. Thank you for reading my articles and feel free to leave a comment if you have one.

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