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Mayweather – Marquez: Winners and Losers
By Jason Pribila: Floyd Mayweather Jr. returned to the ring following a 21-month hiatus in an attempt to reclaim his crown as boxing’s best fighter pound for pound. He chose Juan Manuel Marquez, a natural junior lightweight, as his opponent.
Golden Boy Promotions was on board to give Mayweather’s return the royal treatment. Richard Schaefer and company embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign that was focused on turning a younger fan base on to the Sweet Science. The company’s “hunger to get younger“ was the first time in recent memory that a boxing promotion went after a demographic long lost to other sports, including Mixed Martial Arts.
HBO presented Mayweather-Marquez 24/7 and is on board to give the same treatment to the Pacquiao-Cotto showdown. The network has invested in the creation of its own Final Four. If the chips fall as expected they will be left with two #1 seeds facing off to determine who is truly boxing’s best. The pound for pound crown will no longer be considered “mythical”, but will rather be settled in the ring.
The best laid plans of television executives and promoters have been dashed by far lesser fighters than Miguel Cotto. The reigning WBO welterweight champion represents as dangerous a #2 seed that Pacquiao could be matched against.
Now that the receipts have been counted, and Mayweather – Marquez has been replayed on “free” HBO, I am finally ready to close the book on “Number One / Numero Uno”.
5. “Sugar”Shane Mosley: Much had been written about Mosley before his interaction with Mayweather following the fight. Mosley’s campaign to land a big fight against Cotto, Pacquiao, and Mayweather has gotten old. He has lost the support and sympathy of much of the boxing public, and more importantly his momentum following the Margarito win has stalled.
Mosley turned 38 earlier this month, and will most likely go a full year between bouts. A look at his recent track record shows that Mosley is at his best when he remains active. A victory over Luis Collazo was followed by a nine month lay-off before a loss to Cotto. Ten months passed before he entered the ring and looked sluggish against Ricardo Mayorga in September, 2008. However, only four months passed before he took on Margarito. An active Mosley equals a sharp Mosley, and his gamble to wait for the big money fight may end up costing him his best chance to win should he ever get one.
Mosley will most likely face Andre Berto on January 2010, but the chances of him facing Mayweather only increased after September 19. While Mayweather was being interviewed, Max Kellerman suggested Mosley as a future opponent. At that time, Mayweather invited Shane to the microphone. Watch the tape. A gracious Mosley asked Mayweather to give the fans what they wanted, and offered to fight. A few comments by Bernard Hopkins caused tension, and the interview was cut short.
Staged or not, the image of Mayweather – Mosley standing face to face in the ring was seen by a larger audience than most could have imagined. In fact, the PPV numbers suggest that Mayweather will want to dictate his next promotion. A bout with Mosley would seem to be much easier to make than getting a split that would satisfy both Mayweather and Top Rank.
4. Sports drinks and H2O: Critics of HBO’s 24/7 had voiced their displeasure of a “been there/done that” feeling that they had following the show’s premiere episode. Midway through episode two, their cameras captured a moment that took on a life of its own. Following a workout, Juan Manuel Marquez filled a glass and drank his own urine.
A far cry from Rocky Balboa’s consumption of raw eggs, this was an extreme that most would never consider. Marquez was beaten soundly, and the defeat may have prevented everyone from impressionable young fighters to youtube-seeking fraternity brothers from ever adopting his post workout drink of choice.
Sports Drinks will only need to worry about competing against energy drinks and water for the foreseeable future.
3. HBO 24/7: While critics may question whether the show’s format is a boxing documentary or a glorified infomercial, no one should question the positive impact that it has had on the fights that have been featured.
24/7 has now become one with the big boxing events. The show’s musical score and Liev Scheriber’s narration have inspired more than one person to drop the remote in time to throw a slow combination at the air on their way to bed.
The show’s only drawback is that it has yet to produce a competitive fight. Mayweather’s bouts with De La Hoya and Hatton were close on the cards, but never really in doubt. The last four installments have led to blow-outs. Hopefully Pacquiao – Cotto will buck that trend.
2. Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer: While many people applauded the efforts made by Schaefer and his company during the promotion of Mayweather-Marquez, most scoffed when he predicted 1 million pay per view buys.
The Swiss-Banker nailed it. The numbers are incredible; and one could only hope that the efforts become the norm rather than the exception.
Schaefer thought outside of the box and made a deal with 170 AMC movie theaters that not only showed the fight live, but ran ads for the fight prior to feature films. Sponsors new and old were on board and one would have to imagine that there will be more lining up after the numbers were released.
The undercard may not have turned out to be as good as it looked on paper, but there were not any articles written about how dreadful it was.
1. Floyd “Money” Mayweather: Mayweather will never have to read that his previous Pay Per View success was due to the fact he was the B-side to more popular fighters. The 1 million mark is impressive for any fighter, especially one that was coming out of retirement as a huge betting favorite.
Floyd is now in the driver’s seat to gain the respect of those that have long since admired his skills. While many would prefer that he faces the winner of Pacquiao – Cotto, few will accept anything less than a bout against a top welterweight.
5. UFC President, Dana White: UFC103 went head to head with Mayweather-Marquez on Pay Per View. This did not concern White. The out-spoken president predicted that his company’s show would outperform Mayweather-Marquez. After the numbers were released he had a rare slice of humble pie.
“Bottom line, we did a good number and we still got our asses kicked,” White told Yahoo.com. “What they did was phenomenal and I’m happy for them.”
No one can deny that boxing promoters are borrowing marketing ideas from the UFC in order to compete. There is a market for both combat sports, and hopefully the companies involved will attempt to work together, rather than counter-program each other.
4. Zab Judah: When the undercard was announced, the televised portion was supposed to begin with Judah taking on Antonio Diaz. Judah, unhappy with everything from his purse to his opponent, backed out of the fight and was eventually off the card.
Judah has not fought since winning a 10 round decision against Ernest Johnson on the undercard of Calzaghe – Jones (a PPV that fell far short of 1 million buys).
Judah is 1-1, with a no-contest against a shower door, since November 2007. However, he continues to burn bridges with those that are still willing to give him television spots. At this point, he cannot even rely on Ricardo Mayorga to fight, unless he wants to follow him into a cage. Hmmm.
3. Weight-gate: While Mayweather was near perfect on September 19, his behavior at the weigh-in is an example of why he cannot avoid being criticized. Juan Manuel Marquez was moving up to a contracted weight of 144 lbs, after fighting only once at the lightweight limit. Mayweather also agreed to come down three pounds below the welterweight limit.
Mayweather never attempted to make the weight, and instead chose to pay Marquez $300,000.00 for each pound he was over 144 lbs. Mayweather showed up a healthy 146 lbs.
The two extra pounds would not have impacted the end result, however, Marquez deserved to be treated like a professional by Mayweather and his promoters. I’m sure Top Rank and Freddie Roach will have a much different reaction if Miguel Cotto shows up heavy on November 13.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez: Marquez needs to be commended for giving up every advantage for an opportunity to face the best. He never stopped trying, and although out-gunned, he made it to the final bell.
That being said, Marquez was led to deep waters in an attempt to again meet his Moby Dick, Manny Pacquiao. Styles make fights and Marquez has one that will always give Pacquiao fits. However, he has been less effective than Pac Man while moving up the scales. That quest most likely ended when he played second fiddle to Mayweather’s “Numero Uno”.
There are plenty of big money fights for Marquez should he choose to return to lightweight, but one has to wonder if he will ever be satisfied after failing to capture the white whale.
1. Nacho Beristain: A few bad nights will not tarnish the career worth of accolades that have fallen on one of Mexico’s most respected trainers. However, he will likely avoid any more catch-weights or 24/7’s for a while.
Nacho has been in the losing corner of the two most hyped catch-weight fights in recent history. In December, he led the favored De La Hoya into the ring against Pacquiao. While no one blamed Beristain for the results, it was a poor introduction to many American fight fans.
On September 19, things only got worse. Not only was he on the losing end of a virtual shut-out in the evening’s main event, but he also led lightweight Vicente Escobedo into a pick-em fight against Michael Katsidis. The scorecards read a split decision, but many saw Katsidis as the clear victor.
Beristain should be commended for the class that he brought to the promotion, especially the final press conference. However, I’m sure that even Nacho would admit that he has had better nights. Nights when he actually offered advice to his fighters between rounds.
September 29, 2009
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