Boxing has recently grown in popularity all over the world, with the rise of online streaming playing a big part in this. Professional boxers like Floyd Mayweather and Anthony Joshua have amassed global fan followings, and their fights are highly-anticipated events which are streamed across the world. With this rise in popularity of the sport, we look at some of the biggest fights in boxing which were streamed online for the world to see.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Conor McGregor
The fight that started it all, in a way. Back in 2017, MMA stalwart Conor McGregor had always shown an interest in boxing, and then, in 2017, signed up for a bout against the retired world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather was an eleven-time five-division world champion, and was expected to easily beat McGregor. Nevertheless, the match set records for pay-per-view and online streaming, even though it was slightly one-sided, with Mayweather beating McGregor in the 10th round on a TKO. It certainly was worth it for both parties, as they earned hundreds of millions from this event.
Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao
In a way, this fight in 2015 was actually the one which kickstarted the current trend of huge, bumper, one-off fights between two superstars. Mayweather and Pacquiao were both multiple-division world champions, and this was touted to be the biggest fight in the history of boxing. While the bout itself was a bit of a damp squib, with Mayweather being overtly defensive and Pacquiao struggling to land punches, it did become the highest-grossing PPV in history. There was a bit of a streaming war for this fight, with multiple services attempting to carry the bout due to its popularity.
Here too, it was Mayweather who prevailed, via unanimous decision after 12 rounds of largely underwhelming boxing.
Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua
This bout, held in June last year, was expected to be a cakewalk for Joshua, with the multiple title holder facing Ruiz at Madison Square Gardens after his original opponent, Jarrell Miller, failed several drug tests. Ruiz was expected to fold pretty early, and the script unfolded as expected at first, with the American even going down in the third round. He came back though, and put Joshua in the canvas in that same frame. Some incredibly close rounds followed, before Ruiz found an opening and put Joshua on the mat twice in the seventh round, winning by TKO after Joshua failed to respond to the referee on time. This was touted as one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, with Ruiz becoming the new unified heavyweight champion as a result. While Joshua would have his chance at revenge later that year in December, it was still a huge result in the context of the sport and his career.
Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman
Pacquiao is now 40 years old, and thus definitely not at the peak of his powers. Nevertheless, this fight in July last year gave him the chance to pick up a legitimate welterweight title for the first time in two years, while for Thurman, it was the chance to beat a legend of the sport and continue his upward trajectory, following statement wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
While Thurman was the slight pre-match favourite, those roles were reversed by the time fight night came around, and Pacquiao showed just why he is considered one of the best to have put on the gloves, landing some heavy blows on Thurman. All in all, it led to a split-decision win for the Filipino, who proved that even at the age of 40, he had still got it.