Frontproof Media's 2017 End of the Year Awards: Event of the Year
Published: January 15, 2018
Boxing had many significant moments in the year 2017. There were fights that took place that brought the sport the mainstream exposure it has long sought after. The most anticipated fight in the sport since Floyd Mayweather faced Manny Pacquiao took place in September with Gennady Golovkin defending his middleweight titles against lineal middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Golovkin-Alvarez lived up to the hype behind it at the box office by becoming the third biggest gate in boxing history. On pay-per-view (PPV) the fight did quite well selling 1.3 million PPV buys. However, the fight was marred by incompetent judging leaving more fans talking about the scoring of the fight than the action that took place inside the ring. Moreover, while Golovkin-Alvarez was an entertaining fight fought at the highest level of the sport it was not a great fight in the same class as classics like Leonard-Hagler or even Pavlik-Taylor I.
2017 also brought fans a crossover bout featuring two of combat sports most loquacious and divisive characters. In August 2017, Floyd Mayweather made his return to the boxing ring after a two-year retirement to face mixed martial arts (MMA) star Conor McGregor in his professional boxing debut. From the fight's announcement, the fight was lambasted and criticized as merely being a circus. All the criticism in the world could not stop the fight from being a pop culture phenomenon. The week leading up to the fight it was the most talked about event in pop culture leading the event to sell a monstrous 4.3 million in PPV buys. Mayweather-McGregor became the second-highest selling PPV in history only behind Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Mayweather-McGregor was financially invincible, and even the fight itself was more entertaining then what most imagined. However, at the end of the night, there was more of a sigh of relief that the fight did not ruin both combat sports rather than fans rejoicing over having watched a great fight. The grand event that became the great fight took place on April 29, 2017.
Frontproof Media would like to award the heavyweight championship bout between Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) as the event of the year for 2017. Joshua-Klitschko was a worldwide event that was broadcast in 45 countries setting a United Kingdom PPV record at 1.2 million buys. The fight also took place at Wembley Stadium in London, England in front of 90,000 fans. Joshua-Klitschko was also one of the few events where rival cable networks Showtime and HBO worked together. Showtime showed the live broadcast of the bout and HBO showed the tape delay later in the day.
The fight itself featured four knockdowns with Klitschko going down once in the fifth round and twice in the eleventh round. The Ukrainian future Hall-of-Famer scored a knockdown in the sixth round and came close to stopping a tired Joshua. The bout was action-packed with changes in momentum featuring a definitive ending with Joshua stopping Klitschko in the eleventh round.
The aftermath of the bout brought boxing mainstream attention for all the right reasons. Joshua-Klitschko was a grand statement to the rest of the sports world that boxing was not close to death but thriving on an international level. Joshua-Klitschko wins the event of the year for showcasing that boxing at it is best is the most exciting sport in the world.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Gennady "GGG" Golovkin
Top Rank-ESPN Deal