“May 2. That’s when the world stops.” So said Floyd Mayweather at the press conference ahead of his fight with Manny Pacquiao and the boxing world will focus entirely on the mega-fight in Las Vegas. But it’ll start rolling pretty soon afterwards.
Stars like Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are in action in the fortnight after Mayweather-Paquiao (both fights, against James Kirkland and Willie Monroe Jnr respectively, will be televised by BoxNation in the UK). Then on May 23 James DeGale challenges Andre Dirrell for Carl Froch’s vacated IBF super-middleweight title at the Agganis Arena in Boston.
Two more Britons will fight for world titles at the O2 in London a week later. On May 30 Kevin Mitchell meets Jorge Linares, the WBC lightweight champion and Lee Selby challenges IBF featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich.
Tony Bellew is in discussions for a possible world title fight at cruiserweight, though May 30 would be too soon. “The buys for Bellew-Cleverly were extraordinary, the amount well beyond expectations and I got so much stick for that. If I made my decisions based on Twitter reactions, I couldn’t put that on. But the result showed that it sold. The end product wasn’t good enough, that’s sport,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “But now May 30 [with] Mitchell-Linares, Selby-Gradovich, we’ll add a couple of British title fights as well, maybe a world title fight, people are going to me, ‘I don’t mind paying for that.’ But does the man on the street pay for it? That’s the difference. I’m not so sure at the moment. So I think if it is going to be pay-per-view there’d need to be more added and if it’s not out there it won’t be. But it’s difficult to run a show like that without it being pay-per-view because they’re expensive but I do think it will sell out the O2… Well, hopefully.”