Former junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez, Mexico's most popular active boxing star, was coming off a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the richest pay-per-view in history when he returned to pay-per-view for his next fight against Alfredo Angulo on March 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Many wondered if Alvarez, carrying a pay-per-view by himself for the first time and coming off a resounding defeat, would still generate enough fan interest to warrant becoming a PPV regular as he envisions. After the returns came in for the fight with Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs) on Friday, the answer is a resounding yes.
Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions announced that the pay-per-view generated "well over 350,000 buys" for Alvarez's one-sided 10th-round knockout of his Mexican countryman. The pay-per-view grossed at least $20 million.
The figures are a far cry from what Mayweather-Alvarez did in September, when their fight generated a record pay-per-view haul of $150 million and sold 2.2 million units, second-best in history. However, Alvarez-Angulo cost much less to put on and was never expected to approach the Mayweather figures.
"We are thrilled with the numbers from Saturday's event," Showtime Sports chief Stephen Espinoza said. "March 8 was the first time Canelo Alvarez headlined his own pay-per-view, and he decisively proved that he was ready to carry a pay-per-view card. These results are especially impressive in comparison to the pay-per-view performances of other boxing events over the past few months."
Espinoza said the number of buys is an initial estimate.
"It could be significantly higher when more numbers come in, but right now we know that it's easily over 350,000," Espinoza said.
The 23-year-old Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) is expected to return to Showtime PPV on July 26 against an opponent to be determined. Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said no opponent or site has been determined, but that Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs), elevated this week from an interim 154-pound titleholder to a full titleholder by one of the sanctioning organizations, is a possibility.
Lara, also promoted by Golden Boy, was at the news conference following Alvarez's victory against Angulo and called him out.
"The fans have spoken," Schaefer said. "Canelo is without a doubt the brightest young star in the sport today. He's been a huge star in Mexico for quite some time. Now there is no denying that he is a star in the United States as well. We're already in discussions with Canelo to find the next opportunity to bring another exciting event to boxing fans worldwide."
Showtime will replay Alvarez-Angulo on Saturday (9 p.m. ET) along with its live coverage from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, of junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia's defense against Mauricio Herrera and the heavyweight title eliminator between Deontay Wilder and Malik Scott.