While the WWE’s plans for a new, over-the-top network has been the talk of the pay-per-view event category recently, boxing distributors have been very quietly developing a strong PPV lineup for the first half of 2014.
As many as four PPV boxing cards featuring the sport’s top champions could hit the PPV schedule over the next six months. Only one PPV boxing event was distributed during the first half of 2013 (Showtime’s May 4 Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero bout.)
Showtime kicked off the 2014 PPV boxing campaign yesterday (Jan. 21) with a press conference in Los Angeles announcing its March 8 Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo fight card. It’ll be the first ring action for Alvarez since his record-setting, Sept. 14 PPV fight with Mayweather.
HBO will look to bring Manny Pacquiao back to the PPV ring in an April 12 bout, potentially against one of the two fighters that beat him in 2012, Timothy Bradley Jr. or Juan Manuel Marquez.
Mayweather has already said he would climb back into the ring May 3 against an yet-to-be-named opponent. Amir Khan and Danny Garcia have been mentioned as potential foes for the pound-for-pound PPV boxing champion.
And HBO is in the process of negotiating a potential June fight between middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and veteran former champion Miguel Cotto.
If all goes as planned, the fights could give the PPV boxing category a great start in attempting to match or surpass the near 4 million PPV buys generated by the category each of the past two years. While it may not replace the potential PPV buys lost by the WWE’s decision to fold its PPV events into its new WWE Network, a solid 2014 boxing campaign could take the sting out of a potential WWE PPV body blow.