Showtime’s live telecast Saturday night of heavyweight champion Deyontay Wilder’s thrilling first round knockout of Dominic Breazeale kicked off what looks to be a summer of intriguing TV fights featuring several of boxing’s biggest stars that could lead to huge pay-per-view fights later in the year.
Boxing’s other heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will look to defend his portion of the title on June 1 against Andy Ruiz Jr. on the DAZN sports streaming service. If the undefeated Joshua wins, the hope among boxing fans and industry observers is that Joshua will meet Wilder in a mega heavyweight unification bout later this year or early 2020.
The wildcard in the heavyweight division is Tyson Fury, who this past December fought Wilder to an action-packed draw, which drew a reported 325,000 pay-per-view buys. Fury will fight June 15 against Tom Schwartz on ESPN+, the first of a multi-fight deal between the “Gypsy King” and ESPN.
The three heavyweight champions could generate some big money fights for the PPV category if they agree to fight each other in the ring.
Also in June, former middleweight champion Genaddy Golovkin will look to position himself for a third fight against current middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez with a June 8 bout against Steve Rolls. Golovkin and Alvarez fought to a draw in their first fight in 2017, with Golovkin losing a close decision to Alvarez this past September.
Alvarez on May 5 outpointed former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs on DAZN to retain his titles.
In July, 40-year old Manny Pacquiao -- fresh off a dominating win against Adrien Broner this past February on Showtime PPV -- will put his welterweight championship on the line against undefeated Keith Thurman via Fox Sports PPV. The winner of the fight could be in a position to fight welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., who himself is coming off a dominating March performance against Mikey Garcia in Fox Sports’ inaugural PPV event.
Industry observers hope a hot summer of live boxing telecasts featuring the top stars of the sport could lead to a lucrative fall for the PPV boxing category.