Before leaving, I asked if I could possibly speak to the manager on duty. I identified myself as a boxing scribe who had hoped to ask a few questions on why they chose “The One” for their first venture into the sweet science.
A few rounds later, Melissa Ross called me into the lobby. She was the manager on duty, and was nice enough to answer a few questions. She informed me that they had previously shown a UFC fight and that because of the theater’s location; corporate often chooses that location to gauge interest in posting live events. She informed me that they did not need to add any extra security, but asked that the guard on duty begin his rounds in and around the theater that was showing the fight.
The theater had a capacity of 108, and much of the crowd that turned out bought tickets the night of the fight. She seemed pleased with the turnout, and was hopeful that the evening would continue without any problems.
When I returned to my seat the fight between Ishe Smith and Carlos Molina was in progress. To be honest, I’m not sure what round it was, as there was not a memorable round that stood out. These are the kind of fights that I usually spend instructing my guests which wings are hot, which drinks are cold, and where the bathroom is located.
The evening again began to pick up when Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse were getting set to trade leather. There were cheers from the audience when it was announced that Garcia was from nearby Philadelphia. Even at $25 a ticket, this crowd was clearly there for the main event.
The crowd gave golf claps in support of Garcia during the early rounds of the fight. They moaned when the swelling under Matthysse’s eye was magnified on a movie screen in HD quality. They applauded for both men when they traded at the final bell.
As much as I like Danny Garcia, I had to eat a little crow as I felt that he was too hittable to withstand the powerful punches thrown by “The Machine”. Better technique, preparation, and guts earned Garcia his biggest win to date.
It was a fun fight, but it was even more fun watching a crowd that is so trained not to talk in a movie theater.
I was able to hit the rest room before the main event. Again, it was surreal to be at a “sporting event” with so many people that had no idea that a big fight was taking place down the hall.
On the way back to the theater I walked behind some late arriving fans. Yes, there are even late arriving fans in non-casino settings.
The fighters and Justin Bieber were in the ring. There was a feeling when the fighters touched gloves unlike many of Mayweather’s previous fights. There was some question as to who would be victorious.
For me, the suspense lasted 11 minutes. Following the third round there was no doubt that it would not be Canelo’s night.
As Floyd painted another masterpiece, there was a little grumbling from the crowd.
“I paid $25 for this?” asked a pro-Canelo fan.
There was some boasting from the pro-Mayweather fans.
“For 12 rounds he kicked your ass!”
And in the end, CJ Ross’ scorecard gave the entire crowd a common villain.
“The One” was history. Mayweather proved he was not only second to none, but he was so good he left us wondering if there was anyone that could be a worthy enough B-side to inspire the decision makers at the Carmike to reserve one of their theaters in May 2014.
Overall, it was a memorable night. The staff at the Carmike did an excellent job of making everyone comfortable, and the theater is a beautiful alternative to watch future sporting events. The fact that the concessions do not include alcohol is also comforting. For example, when I went to get my soda and popcorn refilled I did not have to look over my shoulder to hear someone telling me that I was paying for their “ju-ju bees”.
For me, I would say that the fight card would dictate where I watch my next fight. A card worthy of $65 will almost certainly cause me to hit the order button my remote. I like hosting fights, and it is the one sporting event that my friends know that they usually have a place to go. However, a card like Bradley – Marquez, would be the kind of fight that I would highly recommend looking in the morning paper to see if it is playing at the movies.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing