At this time last year, the world was entrenched in the three-ring circus billed as Mayweather vs. McGregor. Like a train wreck from which you couldn’t divert your eyes, it was captivating to the general public.
Oscar De La Hoya was not in that circus. Instead, he was on a mission to “bring boxing back to its rightful place as the sport of kings.”
His company, Golden Boy Promotions, was pushing its own mega fight, which would take place less than a month after the Mayweather vs. McGregor match.
Canelo Álvarez and Gennady Golovkin were supposed to usher in that redemption for De La Hoya, but after a split draw, a PED suspension and a delayed rematch, the Álvarez-Golovkin saga doesn’t appear to be saving the sport at all.
The chart below shows the amount of search the phrase “Canelo vs GGG” has garnered since the announcement of the first fight:
So what impact has this had on the betting market?
John Murray, director of race and sportsbook at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, says he still expects this bout to be the biggest fight of the year for boxing.
“The betting for this fight seems to be in line with the first,” Murray said. He added that the Westgate has already taken in an $18,000 bet on Álvarez at +130 odds (that nets more than $40,000 if he wins).
As of this week, Murray says the Westgate has written about 20% of the tickets it had last year, and he expect bets to flood in closer to fight week.
Still, the buzz around this fight seems to be at a steady low simmer compared to 365 days ago, due in large part to the aforementioned circus De La Hoya was decrying.
Murray described the clash between boxing and UFC stars as a mini Super Bowl for Vegas.
“Everything was dwarfed by Mayweather-McGregor,” he said. “That fight got everyone excited about boxing, and the hardcore fans said, ‘if you like this, wait until you see Canelo and GGG in September.’ ”
At a time when casinos and bettors are typically gearing up for the return of football, the boxing world had taken center stage, even if it was, as De La Hoya stated, farce.
The Golden Boy Promotions team has not done itself any favors. Since the Canelo-GGG announcement in June, it has held just two promotional appearances, including one that had both camps appear via satellite.
The HBO 24/7 special that usually accompanies the network’s biggest fights started airing on Tuesday and will run up until the fight.
That’ll help create some buzz, but it won’t wipe out the notion that this fight has been undersold.
Come fight week, Murray believes Vegas will be flooded by loyal Mexican boxing fans to back Canelo, who has garnered more betting money to this point.
The support for Canelo has begun to move the market, as his price shortened from +135 to +125 at the Westgate. And at 5Dimes, Golovkin has moved from -168 to -140 since opening.
If you’ve been wanting to chat about this fight at the water cooler, however, you might need to wait two more weeks for people to catch on.